Friday, January 06, 2012

Penn vets prez candidates

Penn Jillette sizes up the major candidates in the 2012 presidential race in this video interview with Big Think. "Jillette's scorecard is unique in a number of ways. For one thing, it's decidedly non-partisan. Jillette directs his criticism at Democrats and Republicans alike. Another noticeable attribute: you'll be hard-pressed to find another voting guide out there that is quite so colorful, and so laced with profanity, as Jillette's."

Anti-evolutionism in New Hampshire schools?

A New Hampshire lawmaker has introduced a bill that would require public school science classes include scientists' "political and ideological viewpoints and their position on the concept of atheism." He claims the Columbine tragedy was caused by the teaching of evolution. (Mother Jones)


Speaking of The Granite State, New Hampshire freethinkers, please note: a new Humanist Meetup has started in the Hanover are, the Upper Valley Humanists Association. Check them out!

In the news: Boston Atheists @Xmas

The weekly Dig Boston, in its last issue of 2011, ran a nice profile of how some of us in the Boston secular community view the holiday season. The article doesn't seem to be online, but I've had it scanned and posted to the files section on the BA Meetup site, where you can read it as a PDF. I'm still in touch with the author, so if you'd like to follow-up with him, and let him know what you think of the job he did, let me know and I can pass your message on to him.


BA organizer Calvin Fisher brings to our attention an article on, whose author looks at Dave Silverman's proposed alternative to the silly practice known as Tebowing. It's called Thinkering.

Get in on the trend, hepcats.


As the ultra-Orthodox Haredi community in Israel continues to grow its numbers, its coming into contact with a, let's say, more modern culture, which isn't accustomed to segregating the genders. At the Wall Street Journal, you can read about the latest fracas, occurring when a female member of the IDF had the brazen audacity to sit in the front of a bus, to the horror of the Orthodox men who expected her to take her place in the back, where her sexual cooties couldn't brush off on anyone else.

In past weeks, there have been marches and even physical clashes in Israel, relating to similar incidents. Thank goodness the culture of the US isn't subject to, or under threat of being subject to, the religious puritanism of patriarchal fundamentalists! (Wait.... )

Introducing the National Atheist Party

If you stopped by the Boston Atheists solstice party last month (a great time!), you may have met Tanya Walker, the Massachusetts chapter leader for the National Atheist Party. "The what?", you might ask. Well, the NAP is "a diverse, all-inclusive, progressive, secular political movement and a response to the lack of representation for all free-thinking people who are legal, law-abiding citizens of the United States." Further, the NAP "is not against anyone's religion. We are not a group convened to combat religion. We are not an evangelical group for the promotion of atheism. We are a political party, convened to give atheists a voice in government that they have never had before. Open atheists, voting on issues. That's it."

There was a useful piece this week in WashPo about the NAP, whose officers over the past few months have been as Amish barn-raisers, raising funds, developing their web and social media networks, installing the expertise and logistical structure of an organization with state and national presence, and so on. Learn more about them at

If you'd like to learn more, two good points of access are 1) the MA State Chapter page on Facebook, s, and 2) the state forum on the NAP website.

I invited the Facebook page moderator, Mason Eaton, to introduce himself:
My name is Mason Eaton and I am the group administrator for the Massachusetts chapter of the National Atheist Party. As a young Atheist, I believe in equality amongst everyone regardless of their religious upbringing, and I feel that the secular populace in America is grossly misunderstood and not given a proper chance to share their voices. In the NAP, the voice of one is accompanied by the voices of many others, and as a group, we will not be silenced out. Equality and Reason, evolving our politics.
A most timely announcement about the NAP is, of course, its co-sponsorship of the Reason Rally in Washington DC this March. There is still time to reserve a seat on one of the buses driving down there from Mass.

How excellent it would be to have just an enormous number of people from Boston, Massachusetts, New England, down there at the Rally. To hear, among other speakers, Tim Minchin! See you there.