Thursday, May 27, 2010

O hai!

I suppose I should mention that I'm moving this blog to

If you're using an RSS reader, click here to update your feed to the new address.

(and if you're NOT using an RSS reader, come on. It's 2010. Google Reader does the job just fine.)

I've been thinking of making a move for a long while now. I was going to do Wordpress, but decided Tumblr better meets my needs, which should mean more updates for you. Yay!

See you on the flipside!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Everybody Draw Muhammad Day

The last few months have seen two grassroots stunt protests against Muslim extremism: Boobquake, and now Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.

If you follow me on Twitter (and if you don't, you should), you'll know that I was a bit hesitant to throw my full support behind Boobquake, despite the immense respect I have for Jen, the event's originator.

But as I thought about it, particularly after reading this persuasive post by Greta Christina, I found most of the criticisms of Boobquake to be nigh indistinguishable from the very sort of oppressive nonsense that Boobquake was in response too: e.g., women shouldn't wear revealing clothing because it will make men lose control.

So that brings up to Everybody Draw Muhammad Day, which is today! This event was started in response to the chilling effect over protests and riots over depictions of Muhhamad, the prophet of Islam. In particular, the decision by Comedy Central to censor an episode of South Park that depicted Muhammad out of fear of violent reprisal.

Again, I initially found it hard to throw my full support behind today: Comedy Central isn't a government, and it can therefore censor whatever it likes. It seemed, at first, more like "Everybody Needlessly Piss Off Muslims Day."

But then last week, Lars Vilks, one of the infamous Danish cartoonists, was attacked. This attack was caught on video (below). Then, Vilk's house was set on fire, and he was forced to go into hiding Vilks has since gone into hiding. So that he doesn't, you know, get murdered.

Over a cartoon. And not even a very good one. I'm reminded of Austin Dacey's stance on respect, and it's something I've tried to take to heart: all people are deserving of respect. It is paramount that we, especially humanists, respect people. But ideas are not deserving of respect. Ideas stand or fall on their own.

Not to overdo it on the video, but Rebecca Watson also helped win me over to EDMD.

And that's when I decided I'd participate in Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.

So, what did I do? I drew Muhammad, complete with a quote from the prophet himself:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Five Podcasts for Critical Thinkers

I listen to a lot of podcasts. They keep me company on work road trips, help pass the time when I'm in the midst of drudgery.

If you both (A) consider yourself a critical thinker, skeptic, or [fill in preferred label here] and (B) listen to podcasts, there is likely no need for me to mention shows like The Skeptics Guide to the Universe or Skepticality. Though if you don't listen to those, subscribe to those as well :)

Instead, I wanted to share a few show I listen to with a slightly less-general focus than SGU and Skepticality. Some of these might not even call themselves science or critical-thought podcasts, favoring comedy, politics, or human insight. But the hosts of all of these shows consistently apply skepticism and critical thought to their subject matter.

So, presented in no particular order...

RH Reality Cast
Website iTunes

RH Reality Cast is produced by RH Reality Check, a web resource for reproductive health, and hosted by Pandagon's Amanda Marcotte, one of my Favorite People on all of the Internets. Each week, Amanda cuts through the nonsense and addresses the real issues surrounding reproductive health, healthcare, and abortion. It is unabashedly political and unabashedly liberal, which suits me just fine.

Curiosity Aroused

This fledgling podcast so far only has six episodes under its belt, but it has swiftly risen near to the top of my favorites. Rebecca Waston, cohost of SGU and another of my Favorite People on All of the Internets, hosts Curiosity Aroused. Each episode aims to bring a critical eye to a single topic, from mainstay skeptical issues, like why vaccination is a good idea, to less obvious ones, like addressing myths about dogs.

Curiosity Aroused "feels" very different to most skeptical podcasts, in that it doesn't assume it's preaching to the choir. Rather, each episode starts with Rebecca channeling Ira Glass with an introduction or anecdote about the topic at hand. Then, contributors (many of them, Skepchicks) present one or more stories on that topic.

I really can't say enough good about this one. I love it. I'd put it right along side Radiolab, which considering that it doesn't have the weight of NPR behind it, is impressive. Oh, and speaking of Radiolab...


It's a travesty that Radiolab, out of WNYC, does not air on my local NPR station. Luckily, it's available as a podcast. Think of it like This American Life, except that each week, the theme is a topic within science. It's really difficult for me to capture what listening to Radiolab is like in type, but can't recommend it highly enough. your best bet is to just listen to an episode, and you'll be hooked immediately. Might I recommend the Parasites or the Earworms (songs, not parasites in this case) episode? Fascinating stuff.

Reasonable Doubts

There are a lot of podcasts on atheism (I've even been a guest on one), but this one is the best in my opinion. I look forward, especially, to the "counter apologetics" segment, where the very knowledgeable hosts dissect an argument from well-known religious apologists (*cough* William Lane Craig *cough*) and, I think, ably show their arguments to be less than compelling.

Sundays Supplement
Website iTunes

Iszi Lawrence and Simon Dunn are two British comedians who, well...
Each week, we get out fingers inky so you don't have to. We put two of Britain's newspapers head-to-head to see which has the best supplements. So... find out which paper you should've bought, last Sunday.
Yep. It's a show about people reading the newspaper. Riveting, right? But check it out. I guarantee that you will be entertained. I eagerly await the newest SunnySup every week. Hilarious! And what's more, it occasionally features interviews (or guest hosts) like the aforementioned Rebecca Watson or Richard Wiseman. Have you ever wondered what would happen to a kitten if you put it in the Large Hadron Collider and proceeded to accelerate it to near the speed of light? Well, Iszi asks LHC physicist Brian Cox and finds out once and for all.


Now, get to listening!

I tried to highlight shows here that may not fit into the usual norm of "critical thinking" podcasts (though I suppose Reasonable Doubts does. But I already wrote the damn text, so it stays). Am I missing something amazing? Tell me in the comments below!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Geeks Who Drink

Wayne The Main Brain McClainEvery Wednesday for about the last month, Piper Down, my favorite local pub (this, in part, due to its close proximity to my domicile) , has been host to Geeks Who Drink, Utah's first regular pub quiz.

If you're not familiar with a pub quiz, we form up into a team of 6 players, and compete against a barful of know-it-alls for supremacy over all and a $50 gift card.

And it's a whole lot of fun.

Each night, GWD presents 8 rounds, each round with 8 questions on a given topic. The topics range from straightforward ones like... Actually, scratch that: there are no straight-forward ones. Nearly every round is some off-the-wall topic like "Minor Star Wars character, or STD medication?" or "name the movie based on these clips of Al Pacino screaming." Hats off to the mysterious quiz writers who come up with these crazy nonsense categories each week.

If you're in SLC, be sure to come to Geeks Who Drink and join in on the fun, though don't expect to win, as that's our team's purview. We took 1st the last two weeks and we don't plan on breaking our stride. That's right: I'm boasting. How unhumble of me.

If you're not in Utah, check out to see if they're in your area as well!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fun with Data #1: The Decemberists

No one has mastered the art of storytelling in song more than the Decemberists. From operatic epics like The Tain and The Hazards of Love to sea shanties like "The Mariner's Revenge Song", Colin Meloy and the Decemberists' moody tales of half-remembered evenings in San Francisco and Victorian-era ne'er-do-wells are gorgeous and intriguing.

I discovered the Decemberists completely by accident. I saw Castaways and Cutouts in a record store. Liking the cover art and knowing that I could trust just that about anything released by the Kill Rock Stars label would be excellent, I bought it having never heard their music or even their name before.

At first, it didn't grab me. I found Colin Meloy's voice a bit off-putting, listened to it once and forgot about it. But somewhere in the back of my mind, it got me. A few weeks later, I had the melody to "Grace Cathedral Hill" (still one of my all-time favorite songs) in my head. I dug into my collection and popped C&C back into my CD player. This time, they grabbed me. And they never let go.

Okay, enough with the personal anecdote. This post is called "Fun with data"... So where is the data?

One thing fans of the Decemberists know that there are some common themes in the various tales. Just how common are these themes? Well, I decided to find out, and conducted an exhaustive search of the Decemberists' songs. Here's what I found:

Songs included are the 66 songs from the five full albums, 5 Songs and The Tain. "Past" indicates a song that identifiably takes place at least 20 years prior to the present day. "Death", "Drowning", and "Murder" are not mutually exclusive, and a single incident may be counted among all three (see: "The Rake"). Full data available for peer review prior to publication in a major academic journal. As it surely will be. Right? ... Right?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Am I still alive?

Hey everyone! Have you been wondering where I have been? Whether I'm still alive?

Well, I've god good news: I'm delighted to announce that, yes, I am indeed still alive.

"But Patrick," you say, "we miss your long screeds about why you don't understand religious moderates. And your interesting-if-a-tad-egocentric personal history series. And your in-depth analysis of off-hand pseudoscientific comments made by your coworkers. And your tales of sex toy discussions within earshot of important religious leaders. And your endless vitriol towards Glenn Beck [exhibit A, B, C, D]. And don't forget your movie reviews! Why don't you ever blog any more???"

I hate to let down my throng of, surely, countless fans. So I hereby commit to writing at least one post every day for the next thirty days. Not all of them will be amazing. I might just post a link to YouTube video (like this one). But I'm planning on a part 5 of my personal history series and finally putting down on paper (er, you know what I mean) some ideas I've had rolling around in my head for some time.

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, April 10, 2010


[via Main Street Plaza]
So, when I first started watching this video below, I immediately wanted to take it apart, to demolish it point by point... But you know what? It's Saturday morning, and my time could better be spent attacking the last remnants of the datura bushes in my front yard.

Luckily, Jon Adams at the USU SHAFT blog does a brilliant job of addressing why this video, made by a Mormon, is indicative of recent shifts in Mormon perspective, which historically hasn't been so fire-and-brimstone end-timesy. And why this shift may be in part driven by Glenn Beck. Check out his excellent post.

The stupid flows fast and free here...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

One nation, indivisible

Sometimes, I get annoyed at some atheists and atheist groups that seem to spend an inordinate amount time on, for instance, getting "in God we trust" off of American currency or "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance.

I agree with the sentiment, of course: such language is inherently exclusionary, unnecessary, and in my view unconstitutional. But I wonder sometimes if this collective energy could better be spent on other tasks...

But then I see a video like this. It just reiterates what I already know, but it reminds me that maybe it's time well-spent after all. Our government should not discriminate against any group just becuase they are in the minority. I think its more wrong to, for instance, deny a huge chunk of the population the right to marry... but perhaps if our national symbols more accurately reflected the inherent secular nature of our founding documents, it wouldn't be as easy to justify such disparities through an appeal to religious tradition...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Doctor Who cocktails

So, I'm having party in a few weeks for the premier of the new season of Doctor Who. I'm well excited to see what new showrunner Stephen Moffat, who has written most of my favorite episodes, will bring to the series. (I've written previously on why I'm not sorry to see Russell T. Davies leave the show.) What I've seen and heard so far is promising: to my knowledge, there are no aliens that just look like humans with animal heads glued on. This is very encouraging!

In addition to Doctor Who, I also enjoy mixed drinks. Specifically, I like making mixed drinks. And I love devising new ones... So, here are a few Doctor Who-themed drinks I've come up with. I like fizzy drinks, so this is weighted in that direction.

If you try any of these, I'd love to hear how it went in the comments.

The Sonic Screwdriver
This is a simple on. And obvious, as it names both the world's most popular cocktail [citation needed] and one of the most iconic features of the show. The internet suggests that a Sonic Screwdriver is 2 parts blue Jones' Soda and 1 part vodka. However, isn't Jones blue soda bubblegum flavored? No thank you. Here's my version, which at least keeps the citrus theme of a true SD.
  • 4 ounces grapefruit soda (I use Fresca, but choose your poison)
  • 1.5 ounces vodka
  • .5 ounce blue curacao
Pour into an ice-filled lowball glass, garnish with a blood orange wheel.

I hear the color of the sonic screwdriver effect in the new series will change from blue to green. If so, just substitute orange juice for the grapefruit soda, and you're done!

Captain Jack Harkness
This one is full of yum. Mmmmmm...
  • 1-1.5 ounces dark rum (NOT spiced rum)
  • 1 ounce whiskey (I used Crown Royal, but Jack Daniels is a more obvious choice)
  • 4 ounces ginger beer (or ginger ale, if you want something a little less spicy)
  • dash of lime juice (unsweetened. juice from 1 line wedge is about right)
  • splash of cream
Add all ingredients except for the cream to ice-filled highball and stir gently. Now add the splash of cream which should slowly diffuse through the ice. Do not stir. Garnish with a twist of lime. This makes a delicious and pretty drink.

This was a delightful drink and refreshing drink. You might even call it regenerative. I'll make this again, Doctor Who party or not.
  • 3 ounces pear nectar
  • 2 ounces champagne
  • 3 ounces club soda or seltzer
  • 2 ounces whiskey (I used Crown Royal)
Combine the pear nectar and whiskey in a shaker, shake vigorously, and pour into a highball (no ice). Stir in the champagne and club soda. Garnish with a pear wedge. I think this was my favorite of the bunch. Yum.

Time Vortex
This is a layered drink, so ingredients must be added in this order*. I've not included quantities here. Just add enough to achieve the desired stripe width.
  • grenadine (don't go overboard here)
  • pineapple juice
  • Jagermeister (just enough to form a distinct layer)
  • blue curacao (don't go overboard here)
  • Chambord
Use the brand specified if you can. If you substitute other brands or other liqueurs, the densities may vary, so you'll need to experiment to make sure to it will layer properly.

Layered drinks are mostly made to look pretty rather than taste good. Nonetheless, I rather liked this. The herbal flavors of the Jagermeister set off the otherwise too-strong fruit flavors nicely.

*If you've never made a layered drink before, the most reliable way I've found is to hold a spoon by the spoony end and place it so the handle end is just above the partially-poured drink. Gently pour the next ingredient along the spoon handle. This slows down the liquid so it doesn't splash into the glass and ruin the layered effect. Ingredients must be added from densest to least dense. Also, the thinner the glass, the better your drink will hold its layers, a shooter glass or (if you happen to have them) a pousse-café glass is best.

Have any other ideas for DW cocktails? Post them in the comments!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thoughts on Dacey / Hausam debate

This past Saturday, I attended a lecture (organized by SHIFT) by Austin Dacey entitled "Blasphemy: Hate Speech or Human Right."

Despite me sending Dr. Dacey off on a fifteen minute wild goose chase in search of a bathroom minutes before the lecture, he was extraordinarily well-spoken, eloquent and persuasive.

The thrust of Dr. Dacey's argument is that all people are deserving of equal respect and dignity, but that not all ideas are, and that a truly open society depends on the ability to criticize ideas. I couldn't agree with this more. With blasphemy laws spreading, such as the new one in Ireland and the various proposals put before the UN (the talks for which Dr. Dacey has participated in), this is an important distinction.

Following his lecture, Dr. Dacey was joined by Dr. Mark Hausam for a debate (really, more of a conversation) called "Is Morality Possible Without God?"

Dr. Hausam's position, of course, is that no, morality is not possible without God.

Hausam began by listing off several things that would be true in a Godless universe. I objected to very little of what he said here, I just don't view it as a problem. (e.g., the universe is so vast and expansive that in the grand scheme of things, we puny humans on our pale blue dot add up to very little, except in our own eyes.)

Then things got dicey. Hausam's contention, and I'll try not to strawman here, is that all human morality is "subjective" and therefore illusory. Only an observer outside of the Universe and truly "objective" can therefore be the source of true morality. (For no apparent reason, he also said this fact demonstrated God's existence... which was neither the topic of discussion nor true.)

Nearly everything Hausam said hinged on one or both of these assumptions being true. Yet he failed to substantiate either assumption. Furthermore, I think both of these can be deomstrated to not be true: human's can be moral without a god, and God (and let's not beat around the bush here, Hausam was talking about the God of the Bible) is neither "objective" nor consistently moral.

Human-based morality is not real morality?
Hausam played a little linguistic trick throughout his arguments. He was supposedly saying that morality cannot exist without God. But what he actually contended is that objective morality cannot. I got so tired of him invoking the word "objective" as if it gave him a free pass to say whatever he wanted.

Here's the deal: in a way, he's right: there is no universally accepted "objective" morality in humans. Things deemed anathema to one society wouldn't garner so much as a batted eyelash in others. We can come up with some approximations of "objective" morality: equal opportunity no matter one's gender, race, religion, or nation; rejection of murder and rape, and so on. But even those qualities are based on some assumptions (assumptions that I subscribe to), such as the inherent equality of all people. Indeed, without holy words in the picture, I'd contend that it may be easier to fashion something approaching an "objective" morality, as wouldn't be based around the capricious desires of beings that only speak through chosen "prophets."

So what if human morality is "subjective?" They're the result of evolution and social cohesion, primarily, which doesn't make them less applicable to human life, but more applicable than those based on the unintelligible motivations of a sky god, operating under the the simple moral rule of "whatever I say goes."

Hausam repeatedly stated that although he wouldn't act any differently in a godless universe, other people would. He doesn't have numbers to back this up of course, as atheists are the least well-represented in American prisons of any religious group, and the least religious nations in the world report the highest levels of overall happiness and stability (yes, there are many other factors playing in to those two statistics, but it does throw into question the idea that lacking belief in God = guiltless crime spree party).

God is objectively moral?
Hausam came out as a Calvinist during the debate, meaning he believes that every jot and tittle of our lives is specifically preordained by God, making EVERY HUMAN ACT EVER a moral act by his standards, as it was preordained by the perfect holder of "objective" morality. Torture? Moral. Rape? Moral. Murder? Moral. I doubt very much that Hausam truly believes those acts are okay, yet he's constructed a world in which there is no reconciliation -- save cognitive dissonance -- of these factors. If anything God does is moral, and god specifically preordains all human acts, then the 9/11 attacks, the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, and [insert horrific human act of choice here] are all moral acts.

Indeed, this is a much more troubling scenario than the one he proffered about we amoral atheists.

So how objective is God's morality? If we are talking about some inchoate, distant Deist god who is not concerned with human affairs one way or another, then fine: call it objective. But also call it meaningless. Of what use is "objective" morality if this being is not concerned with us and does not communicate with us?

If, instead, we're talking about the God of the Bible (and let's be clear: we are), then we most certainly are not talking about an objective being. God says so himself, in describing himself as variously jealous, loving, vengeful, pleased at the smell of burning animal flesh, and myriad other decidedly subjective dispositions towards humans and human acts.

Based on my own set of "subjective" morals, rape and genoocide (to pick two examples) are always wrong. The same can't be said for the God of the Bible. If whatever he says is moral is moral, then that means raping war orphans is not only sometimes morally acceptable, but morally obligatory. Same goes for murder, genocide, and on and on. These things aren't always okay. Just whenever God says they are. How is this objective? It sounds rather capricious, petty, and -- dare I say it? Yes, I dare -- immoral to me.

Furthermore, if we assume that Yahweh is an "objectively moral" being, then from whence comes this objectivity? This is a classic turtles all the way down problem: Who bestowed moral authority on God?

I wished there was a Q&A session afterward, as Austin Dacey only had a limited amount of time (and therefore, a limited scope) to respond to Hausam. I've touched little on Dacey's criticisms here, precisely because he answered them so persuasively that all I have left is the stuff Dacey was unable to address and I thought warranted more exploration.

If you read through all of that (and I don't blame you if you didn't), I'd be interested to your your thoughts in the comments below.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

SHIFT: Austin Dacey lecture and debate, Feb 27

SHIFT: Secular Humanism, Inquiry and Freethought, the University of Utah secular student alliance, has an exciting event coming up this coming Saturday. I'll be there! Hope you can make it too!

(via SHIFT's blog)
Austin Dacey, author of The Secular Conscience: Why Belief Belongs in Public Life, and former Center for Inquiry representative to the United Nations, is coming this Saturday!

His lecture, called "Blasphemy: Hate Speech or Human Right? Inside the struggle for freedom of expression at the United Nations" will be held in the University of Utah Fine Arts Auditorium (375 South 1530 East) on Saturday, February 27, beginning at 4:00pm ~ the doors will open at 3:00, and seating is first-come-first-served, so come early to grab your good seats!

Following Dr. Dacey's lecture, he will be joined by local Salt Lake Community College Professor of Philosophy, Dr. Mark Hausam, for a debate entitled, "Is Morality Possible Without God?"

Don't miss this amazing opportunity! This lecture is being hosted by SHIFT ~ Secular Humanism, Inquiry and Freethought. It has been generously made possible by the exhaustive efforts of Co-Founder Jason Cooperrider, The Secular Student Alliance (one of our national affiliates), and The Humanists of Utah, as well of course by our participants Dr.s Austin Dacey (and Angie McQuaig) and Mark Hausam.

Donations are gratefully being accepted via cash or checks mad

We need to have a serious talk about Glenn Beck

I know I've been away from the blog for a bit. I promise right now to be posting more. You know how real life gets in the way of things...

So, Glenn Beck is a ridiculous conspiracy theorist. This is not news of course. But I tend to think of him as more of a laughingstock than anything else.

But every now and then, he reminds me that he's dangerous. Watch this vid. Watch the whole thing so you hear the poor frightened caller who he has convinced will be murdered, even going so far as to tell her directly that, yes, expect people to be bursting through your door any day now to put you out of your misery. It's utterly appalling:

(via Attempts at Rational Behavior)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Weirdo non-sequitur post about my Old Navy canvas wallet

When I was 16ish, I had a cheap-ass leather wallet. It belonged to my grandfather when he died, but I don't think it had ever been used. I'm not sure how old it was, but in the clear driver's license pocket there was card with terribly-illustrated drawings of Alan Ladd and Virginia Mayo. There is no way I'd have recognized Ladd and Mayo's on sight, but they were helpfully labeled "Alan Ladd" and "Virginia Mayo," respectively. Handy! I thought this was so bizarrely awesome that I left the card in place.

It wasn't a very well-made wallet, and it starting falling apart rather quickly. Luckily, around my 18th birthday (which HOLY CRAP WAS 12 YEARS AGO!!!), I received an Old Navy gift card.

Old Navy Canvas WalletI walked on in and, not finding any clothes I was particularly enamored with, I ended up picking up a new wallet instead. It was a green canvas wallet; a bi-fold with a Velcro clasp and a zippered coin purse built in to the front. I transferred over the contents of my old wallet, including the ugly illustration of Alan Ladd and Virginia Mayo, and off I went!

It's now 12 years later, and this durable beast of a money holder is still the only wallet I've owned as an adult. It's seen some action: I've lost it for extended periods at least twice. It's been dropped into the ocean in a foreign country. It's packed around a LOT of crap, including ticket stubs for every movie I watched from 1998 to 2005 (it seemed like a good idea at the time, okay?). It has held up amazingly well. The zipper on the coin purse is shot, and there's a bit of fraying here and there, and Alan & Virginia departed in the last two years, but otherwise it's in great condition.

A few years ago, I looked at replacing it. I'd had the thing for a decade and although it didn't need replacing, I wanted to get something new. I looked. Hard. And nothing I found had everything I wanted: bi-fold, canvas (or at least not leather, as I was vegetarian at the time), reasonably attractive. I did find a hemp wallet that was just what I was looking for... except for the giant marijuana leaf embroidered on the front. Nothing met my criteria, so I decided to just hold on to what I knew I liked until it totally gave out...

I don't know what I'll do when that happens!

Side note 1: This is not a plug for Old Navy. due to the labor practices of their various factories, I don't shop at Gap, Inc. Gap is actually one of the better companies when it comes to big-time overseas garment production, but they are no means good guys. Even if 90% of a company's labor comes from "clean" sources, that still means 10% comes from deplorable or slave-like conditions. For khakis.

Side note 2: Hey hemp people: you know, some of us actually might prefer to buy ethically-made, fair-trade, sweatshop free, and/or animal-free products without giant ganja leaves on them, or giant proclamations that "Hey! This is made out of hemp! That makes me better than you, you jackass!" on your products (okay, I may be exaggerating... slightly). And don't get me started on the whole "organic" thing. That's a different post for a different day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Revisiting my "personal history" posts

In the early days of this blog, all the way back in the last decade, I did a little miniseries of posts about my personal history, particularly my relationship with religion. A recent thread on Skepchick has caused me to dig those posts up.

Rereading these, I'm surprised by my level of candor and the depth of my descriptions. I've been an atheist for a long time, but I wrote these as I was starting to find community in other people who felt likewise, and beginning my affiliation with rational skepticism.

I really like these posts. And I hope you do too:
  • Part 1 - Who I am now (well, who I was in 2008, which is mostly the same thing). Why I'm an atheist & a skeptic and what those terms mean to me.
  • Part 2 - I grew up in a Mormon family and community, but my parents always encouraged critical thinking.
  • Part 3 - As I became a teenager, I began reconciling my belief -- or lack thereof -- with a scientific viewpoint that increasingly edged-out religion.
  • Part 4 - "Agnostic, leaning toward atheism"
I would love to hear comments about your own experiences with religion in the comments here on on the posts themselves. Cheers!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Be my podcast co-host!

I'm working on a new podcast. I don't want to give too much away about it just yet, as you filthy internet thieves will steal my ideas, and my soul along with them!

(Um... That is to say, I want to wait until I have a the first few episodes planned out and the first one in the bag before I get too loudmouthed about it.)

The show will have a single, ongoing topic, and I'm going to approach it from a skeptical perspective... though it's not a topic that generally gets a lot of attention from the skeptical community and isn't covered by any other skeptical podcasts that I know of... And best of all, that topic is going to lend itself to being a LOT of fun.

I'm also looking for a regular co-host. It's probably easiest if you live in the Salt Lake area, but I'm open to anyone. Care to participate in a biweekly/semimonthly podcast on a mystery topic? (Just ask me, and I'll spill the details.)

Also, the plan is also to do regular scientific-ish (emphasis on the -ish!) tests to be included in the show, and will require a decent number of participants. The idea is to put to-the-test various claims, myths and legends about my mystery topic. And it will be AWESOME for everyone involved. I promise it'll be a BLAST.


P.S., Hmmm... Upon rereading those last couple of paragraphs, it sounds like I'm obliquely implying that the mystery topic will involve an orgy, for science. Though science is a perfectly good reason to have an orgy, it is not currently on the agenda, as I cannot afford that much plastic sheeting.


P.P.S., And no, it doesn't involve drug use either.


P.P.P.S., To the person who stumbled upon my last post (the decade-in-review music post) with the Google search term "erotic preteens": I heartily recommend you go die in a fire.