(It must have escaped from the zoo.)
Even though it’s my day off, a few things inconveniently insisted on happening, so I’d better talk about them very briefly.
- Because of the way atheists have been dominating all forms of public discourse lately, finally some theists are having the courage to stand up for themselves and “respond” to the Atheist Bus Campaign ads by launching some Christian messages of their own. Good to see them finally engaging in the discussion, and not feeling like they need to keep quiet about their beliefs, like they’ve tended to for the past couple of millennia of not really bothering anybody. Obviously they have every right to put these ads where they want, as the British Humanist Association freely admits, but it’s hard not to see it as an incredibly touchy and douchetacular reaction to the shock of an opposing view being expressed.
- Members of Obama’s transition team met with the Secular Coalition of America. One Christian organisation’s response: “Clearly the administration is planning to push the radical left’s vision of a completely secular United States down the throats of ordinary Americans”. Huh. So, because some of his people met some members of a group once, President Obama must want to enforce that group’s ideas over the entire country. So… when Obama himself turns up and speaks at length at the National Prayer Breakfast, a decidedly non-secular event… what orifice is he planning to push that vision into?
- Ben Goldacre’s being sued again. His own website is down at the moment, probably because this has become quite a big deal today and likely overwhelmed a server or two. Some woman was ranting on her radio show about the horrors of vaccinations and repeatedly getting everything wrong, as Orac and Phil explain much better than I could even if I wasn’t this tired. I haven’t done enough research to be fluent in all the facts on this yet, but even I can tell she doesn’t have a clue. Dr. Ben took her to task for promoting unscientific nonsense and dangerous scare tactics on the national airwaves, and quoted a lengthy transcript of what she said, and is now facing legal problems. The audio of the show is up on WikiLeaks, and a work-in-progress transcript is over here. Hopefully Ben will be back online soon; meanwhile, Jeni hasn’t given up her impassioned defence of emotion and instinct over information and understanding.
I’m not thrilled with the shape of all this moaning of mine, but it’s a lot more words than I thought I’d get done tonight.
Edit 7/2/09: I don’t know who Patrick Holford is, but the people keeping an eye on him over at Holford Watch have a rather fabulous round-up of the blogosphere’s reaction to that woman Jeni Barnett and the fracas with Ben Goldacre (whose site has recovered now). They also have a collection of rebuttals to some of the tired and groundless arguments she put forward during the show.
(Edited again: This is typical of my attention span. I finished reading Ben’s book a matter of days ago, and it has a whole chapter about Patrick Holford. I’m sure I was paying attention at the time.)