In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and misinformation, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe; natural wonders and supernatural blunders.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

Ultra-Orthodox Jews cause '11-hour long nightmare' on board flight to Israel

A flight from New York to Tel-Aviv descended into an “11-hour long nightmare” after ultra-orthodox Jewish passengers on board refused to sit next to women, delaying take-off and causing further disruption during the flight.

Christians aren’t being driven out of public life – they’re just losing their unfair advantages

…[nonbelievers can] play the victim game if we fancy it. Just as some men bleat that they are the oppressed because of feminism, [they] confuses a loss of advantage with an act of oppression. This is the shock of those who are losing their divine right to dominate.

Religious people are not being pushed out of public life. Instead, the presumed superiority of morality cherry-picked from ancient books is no longer a given, nor is such morality held in the same high regard it may have been a few decades ago. Evolution has supplied human beings with minds that allow us to think for ourselves and rise above the rigid dogma of a few prophets…

Science completely contradicts Christian's anti-gay bigotry...

confrontingbabble-on:

This issue is one of oppression, bigotry and government colluding with religious fundamentalists to withhold equal rights from a sector of its citizens…

"Along with many other Right Wing Christian groups, [the American Family Association (AFA)] is a hate group, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. On a recent show he spent most of one segment ranting about all the awful things that will happen to America if the Supreme Court strikes down the Defense of Marriage Act. In particular, he asserted that it would lead to incest, pedophilia, and bestiality.Fischer is clearly not a very good historian….He’s trying to convince us that homosexuality is really bad and destroys empires. This is a testable claim.

Children of Gays.

  • In 1996, Mike Allen and Nancy Burrell published a peer reviewed study on the subject. They found the following: “The results demonstrate no differences on any measures between the heterosexual and homosexual parents regarding parenting styles, emotional adjustment, and sexual orientation of the child(ren). In other words, the data fail to support the continuation of a bias against homosexual parents by any court.” (The full text is available through PsychNet if you’d like to read it. There is a modest fee for membership.)

  • In 2006, Gregory Herek replicated the conclusions: “The data indicate that same-sex and heterosexual relationships do not differ in their essential psychosocial dimensions; that a parent’s sexual orientation is unrelated to her or his ability to provide a healthy and nurturing family environment.” (Also available through PsychNet.)

  • In 2001, Judith Stacey and Timothy Biblarz discovered something rather startling. While children of gay and lesbian parents don’t “become gay” any more than children of heterosexuals, daughters of lesbian couples do display one very different behavior: They play better with male children and have more gender-neutral views of society. (Isn’t that what we want? For women to choose their own destinies sans gender impositions?) "53 percent (16 out of 30) of the daughters of lesbians aspired to careers such as doctor, lawyer, engineer, and astronaut, compared with only 21 percent (6 of 28) of the daughters of heterosexual mothers."

  • Overall, Stacey and Biblarz found that "Lesbigay parents and their children in these studies display no differences from heterosexual counterparts in psychological well-being or cognitive functioning."

Adult Gay Relationships

Failing to prove that children are harmed by having gay parents, many Christian bigots will go on to claim that homosexual relationships are “inherently” less stable, less emotionally fulfilling, and psychologically damaging. This claim is also contradicted by the evidence.

  • A 2003 empirical study by Gottman, et al, of the interaction between heterosexual and homosexual couples found that "same-sex couples actually demonstrated more positive (and fewer negative) behaviors during their interactions than did married couples."

  • The 2003 study had a small sample, so Roissman, et al, conducted a more thorough and broader series of studies in 2008. They found "individuals in committed same-sex relationships were generally not distinguishable from their committed heterosexual counterparts, with one exception—lesbians were especially effective at working together harmoniously in laboratory observations."

  • Empirical evidence for actual levels of infidelity in either heterosexuals or homosexuals is very difficult to come by. Varying cultural and ethnic definitions, self-reporting bias, and social concerns have rendered the body of evidence difficult to interpret. At best. There is no data available for divorce rates among gays — since gay marriage has never been allowed in the U.S. However, it’s important to note that there are no reliable studies linking homosexuality with higher levels of relationship infidelity.

  • Recent publications have questioned the reality of monogamy as a historical tradition. In The Myth of Monogamy, Barash and Lipton present a compelling (and cross-disciplinary) argument that heterosexual couples have never been paragons of fidelity to begin with. In other words, it appears that lots of people — both gay and straight — cheat. The Roissman study backed up this conclusion with the observation that both gay and straight couples’ relationship satisfaction was based more on non-sexual factors like parental support and modeling. Not sexual orientation.

In short, the arguments from the Christian bigots fail. They do not reflect reality, but rather a religious ideological agenda. There is no evidence that homosexual marriage destroys society. There is no evidence whatsoever that gays are inherently less healthy, happy, or faithful than straights. There is no evidence that children of gays suffer any harm. In fact, there’s reasonable evidence that children of lesbians are more socially accepting and well adjusted — especially girls. Fischer and all the other anti-gay bigots are wrong. They are factually, objectively wrong, and there is no excuse whatsoever for giving their hate any place in even one point of law.”

Read in full  http://www.examiner.com/article/science-completely-contradicts-christian-s-anti-gay-bigotry

Indiana Makes Same-Sex Marriage Applications a Felony Punishable by Prison

On July 1 of next year, same-sex couples applying for a marriage license in Indiana will have committed a felony punishable by 18 months in prison an a $10,000 fine.

The new crime stems from the revival of a1997 law forbidding false information on a marriage license as a Class D felony. It will also make it a Class B misdemeanor — punishable by up to 180 days in a jail and a maximum fine of $1,000 — for clergy, judges, and others to perform a same-sex marriage.

The New Civil Rights Movement explains how the new rule works:

Because Indiana marriage license forms have a space for “male applicant” and “female applicant”, any same-sex couple filling out the form would automatically violate the law. The harsh penalties Indiana lawmakers have approved make it difficult for protest movements like the Campaign for Southern Equality’s “ We Do” Campaign, which encourages same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses as a protest in states that prohibit same-sex marriages.

Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Indiana, but legislators are contemplating adding a ban in an amendment the state’s Constitution. The vote will be held in the January-March 2014 legislative session.

Source

When Men Experience Sexism

abaldwin360:

sonofbaldwin:

“Yet, what’s striking about instances of sexism against men is how often the perpetrators are not women but other men. The gendercides in Serbia and Rwanda were committed against men, not by feminists, but by other men.”

(H/T Esther Armah)

From the article:

Many of these examples—particularly the points about custody inequities and conscription—are popular with men’s rights activists. MRAs tend to deploy the arguments as evidence that men are oppressed by women and, especially, by feminists. Yet, what’s striking about instances of sexism against men is how often the perpetrators are not women but other men. The gendercides in Serbia and Rwanda were committed against men, not by feminists, but by other men. Prison rape is, again, overwhelmingly committed by men against other men—with (often male) prison officials sitting by and shrugging. Conscription in the U.S. was implemented overwhelmingly by male civilian politicians and military authorities, not by women.

Even in cases where women clearly benefit from sexism, it’s generally not the case that women, as a class, are the ones doing the discriminating. Neither alimony nor custody discussions are central to current feminist theory or current feminist pop cultural discussions. Thereis no ideological feminist commitment to either of these discussions in the way there is to, say, abortion rights, or workplace equity. On the contrary, the alimony and custody inequities we have at the moment seem mostly based, not on progressive feminism, but rather on the reactionary image of female domesticity that feminism has spent most of the last 60-odd years fighting against.

When men suffer from sexism, then, they do so in much the same way women do. That is, they suffer not because women rule the world and are targeting men, nor because feminism has somehow triumphed and brainwashed all of our elected officials (most of them still men) into ideological misandry. Rather, men suffer because of the same gender role stereotypes that hurt and restrict women—though men, being of a different gender, fall afoul of those stereotypes in different ways. Women are supposed to be passive and domestic and sexual—so their employment options and autonomy are restricted and they are fetishized and targeted for sexual assault and exploitation. Men are supposed to be active and violent—so their claims to domestic rights are denigrated and violence directed against them is shrugged off as natural or non-notable.

Fox contributor: Liberals who reject that men should dominate women are anti-science

abaldwin360:

(Raw Story) - Fox Business personalities had a collective freak out on Wednesday night after learning that mothers were now the primary source of income in 40 percent of U.S. households.

Fox Business host Lou Dobbs asserted women earning more than their husbands was an indication of the dissolution of American society. Fox News political analyst Juan Williams agreed, describing it as a sign of the disintegration of marriage that would have negative consequences for generations to come.

Fox News contributor Erick Erickson went one step further, saying nature itself commanded that women be subservient to men.

“I’m so used to liberals telling conservatives that they’re anti-science,” Erickson explained. “But liberals who defend this and say it is not a bad thing are very anti-science. When you look at biology, when you look at the natural world, the roles of a male and a female in society and in other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it’s not antithesis, or it’s not competing, it’s a complimentary role.”

“We as people in a smart society have lost the ability to have complimentary relationships in nuclear families, and it is tearing us apart,” he continued, adding that “reality showed” it was harmful for women to be the primary source of income in a family.

Fox News contributor Doug Schoen concluded the freak out by claiming all these so-called breadwinner moms “could undermine our social order.”

source and video

This is the kind shit Fox News feeds it’s viewers.

For one thing, these people need to look at more examples in nature if they want to play the “nature and science” game. Last time I checked there were plenty of examples of animals where the female of the species does a good deal of the work and the male of the species are there primarily to provide genetics for offspring (lions immediately come to mind).

But aside from that, there is no good reason a woman can’t do the same job as a man, or be the primary breadwinner for a family.

All these excuses they make come down to pride and control.

Women being able to support themselves or be the primary breadwinner means they have more freedom, more independence.

What it all comes down to is these knuckle draggers are afraid of that.

1. The female hyena is larger than the male and, unlike most female animals, female hyena selects her mating partners.

2. The Bonobos are female-dominated animals. Because bonobos exist only in forested areas, it allows the females to forage independently, rather than depending on males for resources. As the bonobos comprise a female dominated society, it is evident that mothers play a vital role in the group’s social stability. Males are permanent members, maintaining close bonds to their mothers for a lifetime. Females are quite different, as they begin to distance their maternal bonds at the onset of puberty. The relationships shared between females, in the bonobo society, create their distinct sexual community. The most common sexual activity for bonobos is a female stimulating another female.

3. Red ruffed lemurs very rarely descend to the ground. They spend almost all of their time in the treetops. They live in female-dominated family groups averaging in size from 2 to 16 animals.

4. Mouse lemurs are forest dwellers that live in female-dominated groups of up to 15 animals. They spend most of their time in trees, and can move nimbly from branch to branch and tree to tree. Mouse lemurs sleep aloft during the day and forage at night for insects, fruit, flowers, and other plants.

5. Elephants are strict vegetarians, and live in female-dominated family herds. They are very intelligent, peaceful unless provoked, and unlike other animals, will take care of a sick or wounded family member.

6. A guenon monkey with several colour variations over its range. Females stay with their mothers, forming territorial female-dominated groups with only a single male.

Several insect species also have females dominating over the males like ants, bees, wasps, termites, spiders and the ever lovely praying mantis… etc.

Source

Conservatives are so funny when they try to use “science”…

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Nipples are Nipples: NYC Lifts Discriminatory Topless Ban

Topless Women in Public Not Breaking the Law Says NYPD

Ladies of New York , you are free to walk bare-breasted through the city! New York City’s 34,000 police officers have been instructed that, should they encounter a woman in public who is shirtless but obeying the law, they should not arrest her. This is a good step towards gender parity in public spaces.

This decision means that breast exposure is not considered public lewdness, indecent exposure, or disorderly conduct. It also notes that, should a crowd form around a topless woman, the officer should instruct the crowd to disperse and then respond appropriately if it does not. Relative coverage is no longer a factor.

This policy shift comes after several years of litigation and protest. In the 1992 case People v. Ramona Santorelli and Mary Lou Schloss, the New York Court of Appeals ruled in favor of two women who were arrested with five others for exposing their breasts in a Rochester park, holding the law void as discriminatory. The ruling was put to the test in 2005, when Jill Coccaro bared her breasts on Delancey Street in New York, citing the 1992 decision, and was detained for twelve hours. She subsequently successfully sued the city for $29,000.

In 2007, Go Topless, a national organization supporting gender equality in shirtlessness laws, established Go Topless Day. Dozens of women protest – often topless – in thirty cities around the United States, promoting equal rights to be shirtless. Protests usually include chants of “Free your breasts. Free your minds” and a song “Let ‘em Breathe” to the tune of the Beatles’ “Let it Be.”

While some who have witnessed these events have suggested that “[t]his is extreme liberalism and why America’s in decline” or “[i]t’s degrading to women,” others have been supportive. One man even said he would encourage his wife to join them.

Though bare-breasted women might shock the sensibilities of some in the public, it is encouraging to see the police responding positively to gender bias, even on such a seemingly small scale. After all, no one thinks twice about a man shirtless on a summer day. However, the female nipple or chest is still considered “lewd.” By reminding its officers of this, the NYPD is publicly declaring that it will no longer perpetuate unconstitutional gender discrimination, a standard to which all law enforcement should be held and a decision for which it should be applauded.

(Source: policymic.com)

Shit Homophobic People Say

A short highlight reel of mainstream conservative bigotry in America over the last 10 years.