ignorance

Too orangey for crows

When I was young, maybe about 5 or 6 years old, my mum was always telling me not to put so much orange squash in my glass before filling it with water. In a time when actual proper orange juice was still considered something of a luxury, putting in a bit more squash than I should have would give it a decent, fuller, more orangey taste – it was like giving myself a treat! Mum would always tell us that “too much is bad for you”, which, of course, is true, but it masked her real feelings that using more meant that it would run out sooner and she’d have to buy another bottle. Like many children, this would have been my introduction to the concept of dilution; the idea that the more you water something down, the weaker it gets, and it seemed so obvious to me that a large amount of something should overwhelm a small amount of something else. So how is it that the only people in history, it seems, who never grasped this concept were the proponents of homeopathy? Read more “Too orangey for crows”

Jesus S(l)aves

A few months ago, I made a list of ideas for subjects that I wanted to cover in future posts and, this week, an old playground song that had become inexplicably stuck in my head reminded me of one of them. The song (well, verse) consists of the following sung to the tune of “The Battle Hymn Of The Republic”:

Jesus is the goalie of our local football team
Jesus is the goalie of our local football team
Jesus is the goalie of our local football team
Jesus saves! Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

While the joke works much better if you imagine the last line is accompanied by hands being thrust in the air, to the left then right (as if catching an imaginary football), the point is that it put me in mind of one of the ideas on my list; specifically that Jesus, rather than saving people, in fact makes them prisoners. Read more “Jesus S(l)aves”

Sarah Palin’s Vagina

Recently, the American right-wing (and by that I mostly mean Fox News) went and got its knickers in a massive twist over comments made by an aide to Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister. The comments related specifically to a request made by Sarah Palin for a meeting with Thatcher, whom Palin had previously cited as a role-model, during the former Alaskan governor’s forthcoming visit to the UK. The response itself, an emphatic “no”, was not the problem; it was more that the aide called Palin “bat-shit insane” that so enraged the Republitards (yes, I know, the aide actually said she was “nuts”, but he was just being polite). What baffles me most is not the reaction to any of this (it’s pretty par for the course, really), but the fact that no-one ever mentions how the only reason Sarah Palin is where she is today, the only reason any of us have ever even heard of her, is because of her vagina. Read more “Sarah Palin’s Vagina”

Measles, McCarthy, and Reason

Every one of us has, at some point in our lives, met someone truly deserving of the label, “gobshite”; someone who, rather like a geography teacher, could speak at great length about nothing in particular. The kind of person who could bang on for hours, like a carpenter with OCD, and never say anything worth listening to. For the most part, we simply tolerate their seemingly limitless capacity for verbal diarrhoea and see it as little more than a minor annoyance – the kind of grating personality trait that we all have and others learn to work around. Occasionally, however, we’d meet a prolific purveyor of bovine faeces that cannot be ignored because they’ve strayed far beyond the realms of the irritatingly harmless and into the territory of the positively lethal; someone who can talk themselves, and those around them, into deep trouble with consummate ease. The kind of person to whom you find yourself saying “seriously, dude, you need to shut the fuck up” far too often. If you want a classic example of the “dangerous gobshite”, look no further than Jenny McCarthy. Read more “Measles, McCarthy, and Reason”

My atheism

I’m not sure when I became an atheist; in a way, I guess I always have been. Sure, there have been times when I dipped my toe in the waters of faith, but I always felt rather hollow, usually to the point of dishonesty, when I did. I didn’t really, deep-down believe what I was trying to persuade myself I believed and, on the very few occasions in my life that I actually prayed, I felt like a complete fraud; wishing out loud to a being I didn’t believe existed for shortcuts to problems I was either unable, or too lazy, to solve myself. Read more “My atheism”