Oh, the Internet is marvellous thing: Popeye the Sailor: Nearlyweds

From archive.org.

What’s Wrong with Blasphemy

The End Blasphemy Laws campaign believes “blasphemy” and “insult” to religion laws are wrong in several ways:

  • They violate the human right to freedom of expression
  • They protect religious belief and practices, institutions and leaders, from legitimate and necessary criticism
  • They are intrinsically bad laws
  • They legitimize mob violence, vigilantism, and persecution of minorities

This extract is from the site End Blasphemy Law, which is part of a new campaign aimed at the abolition of blasphemy laws. The campaign is lead by the International Humanist and Ethical Union and European Humanist Federation.

You can read a discussion of these bullet points here, and you can join the campaign here. I urge you to do so.

My Clerihew

My Clerihew

A little while ago, I signed up with Patreon to support the work of the creator of the excellent Jesus & Mo cartoon strip. Part of the reward for this support was the promise of a personal clerihew, which was just delivered:

Roger Cavanagh
Your name rhymes with taverner.
Apart from that, not much –
Which is why this clerihew kind of sucks.

The author did acknowledge that this was probably not his best work: “So, yeah. Sorry about that!”. It’s just as well that the expectation of my clerihew was not a factor in my decision to support the author. Anyway here’s the latest cartoon:

Recent J&M cartoon

The cartoon’s appear here. If you enjoy them, do consider your own Patreon donation

Winning vs. Not Losing

It’s not about winning, it’s about not losing.

via Winning vs. Not Losing | Smilodon’s Retreat.

Succinct and explanatory.

Some good news: Countdown To Zero

GoodnewsSome good news: I was catching up on watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Jimmy Carter was the guest on the 12 January edition. One of the things he talked about was the programme to eradicate Guinea worm, which has been supported by the Carter Center.

In 1986, the disease afflicted an estimated 3.5 million people a year in 21 countries in Africa and Asia. Today, thanks to the work of The Carter Center and its partners — including the countries themselves — the incidence of Guinea worm has been reduced by more than 99.99 percent to 126 cases in 2014.

I did not know this. It is a wonderful achievement, and everyone involved in the project should be congratulated.

I imagine that President Carter was on the show to publicise the Countdown To Zero exhibition was opened at the American Museum of Natural History on 15 January 2015. It’s in New York.


My colleague is forced to go to Mass by the UK courts | A Tippling Philosopher

My colleague is forced to go to Mass by the UK courts | A Tippling Philosopher.


Charlie Hebdo Editorial: Je Suis Charlie Means Je Suis Secularism

The millions of anonymous people, all the institutions, all the heads of state and government, all the political, intellectual and media celebrities, all the religious dignitaries who this week proclaimed “Je Suis Charlie” should know that also means “I am secularism.” We are convinced that as far as most of our supporters are concerned, that goes without saying. The others can do what they like with it.

via National Secular Society – Charlie Hebdo Editorial: Je Suis Charlie Means Je Suis Secularism.

This is a translation of the editorial from the first Charlie Hebdo published since the Paris attacks. It is reproduced here in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo.

Christopher Hitchens on Free Speech

Moving and thought-provoking, and worth revisiting in the light of recent events.


Bring me data

FIRE!!! Fire… fire… fire! Now you’ve heard it. Not shouted in a crowded theatre, admittedly, as I realise I seem now to have shouted it in the Hogwarts dining room. But the point is made. Everyone knows the fatuous verdict of the greatly over-praised Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who, asked for an actual example of when it would be proper to limit speech or define it as a [criminal] action, gave that of shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre. It’s very often forgotten what he was doing in that case was sending to prison a group of Yiddish-speaking socialists, whose literature was printed in a language most Americans couldn’t read, opposing President Wilson’s participation in the First World War and the dragging of the United States into this sanguinary conflict, which the Yiddish-speaking socialists had fled from Russia to escape. In fact it could be just as plausibly argued that…

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Twenty-Six Ways to Spot Quacks and Vitamin Pushers

26. They Encourage Patients to Crusade for Their Treatment Methods.

A century ago, before scientific methodology was generally accepted, valid new ideas were hard to evaluate and were sometimes rejected by a majority of the medical community, only to be upheld later. But today, treatments demonstrated as effective are welcomed by scientific practitioners and do not need a group to crusade for them. Quacks seek political endorsement because they can’t prove that their methods work. Instead, they may seek to legalize their treatment and force insurance companies to pay for it. One of the surest signs that a treatment doesn’t work is a political campaign to protect the practitioners who are using it.

via Twenty-Six Ways to Spot Quacks and Vitamin Pushers.

I stumbled across Quackwatch recently. It looks like it could be a useful resource. The quote is the last of the 26 ways of quack spottery from a recent post.



You MUST mock

And aren’t we all tired of those who claim to know the answer to life, death and the creation being so fucking sensitive about their knowledge? If I knew the answer to it all, if I thought I understood the wishes of the author of the universe and was privileged to understand what happens to us after death, the last thing I would be is all prickly and defensive. ‘Mock me all you like,’ I’d cry. ‘Go on, laugh your socks off, paint crude daubs, make mocking films. They pass me by as the idle wind which I respect not.’

via You MUST mock – Official site of Stephen Fry.