Category Archives: Off-topic

Separate Bathrooms for Creationists?

This is what happens around here when there’s not much of our kind of news to report. Hey — it’s Friday the 13th, so we can blame it on that too. Therefore, dear reader, if you can forgive your Curmudgeon for straying off topic, here’s something stimulating to think about.

Most of you are aware of the current controversy in the US about the usage of bathrooms. Wikipedia has an article about the North Carolina Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, which says:

One contentious element of the law eliminates anti-discrimination protections for gay, transgender, genderqueer, and intersex people, and legislates that in government buildings, individuals may only use restrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates. This has been criticized because it prevents transgender people who do not or cannot alter their birth certificates from using the restroom consistent with their gender identity.

With all the news coverage that has generated, we can’t help thinking about a similar issue that involves a much greater number of people — bathrooms for creationists. Think about it. Should creationists be required to use the same bathrooms as hell-bound secular evolutionists?

We know what you’re thinking: If separate bathrooms are provided for creationists, won’t that be expensive? We don’t think so. Remember, it was the Romans who shocked the world with municipal sanitation and their practice of frequent bathing. There’s nothing comparable in the bible, so bible bathrooms should be very easy to provide.

We assume creationists diligently follow the biblical instructions for sanitation, so they probably indulge in ritual bathing for religious occasions and washing their hands after touching dead people. They undoubtedly engage in foot-washing too. But that’s probably all they do, so providing for those special ablutions should be necessary only for church bathrooms. It wouldn’t be expensive to install creationist facilities in public places, because washing wouldn’t be necessary. The term “bathroom” wouldn’t even be appropriate.

Creationists should appreciate the ability to use, ah, restrooms reserved for their own kind. Access could be granted based on a profession of faith, the sort that’s required to get a job with Ken Ham’s operations. The rest of us would be denied access to those places, so we’d have to use the traditional facilities.

This is an issue that all creationists should support with great enthusiasm. If a small number of transgender people can generate so much public concern for their needs, the creationists should be able to quickly pass laws favorable to them in every state. Won’t that be grand?

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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The Latest Witchcraft News

This is a strange one. We found it at EurekAlert, the online news service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Their headline is Do witchcraft beliefs halt economic progress? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Believing in witchcraft is a salient feature of daily life in many parts of the world. In worst-case scenarios, such beliefs lead to murder, and they may also cause destruction of property or societal ostracism of the accused witches. The first large-scale economics study to explore beliefs in witchcraft, broadly defined as the use of supernatural techniques to harm others or acquire wealth, links such beliefs to the erosion of social capital.

Well now, there’s a topic which needed study. Let’s dig in:

Where witchcraft beliefs are widespread, American University Economics Professor Boris Gershman found high levels of mistrust exist among people. Gershman also found a negative relationship between witchcraft beliefs and other metrics of social capital relied upon for a functioning society, including religious participation and charitable giving.

Witchcraft has a negative relationship with religious participation? Let’s read on:

It’s long been argued that witchcraft beliefs impede economic progress and disrupt social relations, and Gershman’s statistical analysis supports that theory. From a policy perspective, Gershman’s results emphasize the importance of accounting for local culture when undertaking development projects, especially those that require communal effort and cooperation. Gershman and other social scientists believe that education can help foster improved trust and decrease the prevalence of witchcraft beliefs.

Ah, this is social science. Now it’s starting to make sense. We continue:

A major focus of Gershman’s findings involves regions of sub-Saharan Africa. …. A respondent is assumed to believe in witchcraft if she claims to believe in either “witchcraft” or “that certain people can cast curses or spells that cause bad things to happen to someone.”

That seems reasonable. Here’s more:

Witchcraft may be alone among supernatural beliefs for having a negative correlation to trust. Beliefs in heaven, hell, reincarnation, angels, miracles, and evil spirits have no relationship to trust, Gershman found.

Oh? Do you trust, say, someone like ol’ Hambo, or a Discoveroid, more than you trust someone who believes in witchcraft? Moving along:

Gershman, who studies the social costs and benefits of culture, has also published research on the “evil eye,” a cultural belief that a person’s envious glance leads to property destruction. The evil eye belief is also harmful to economic progress but in a different way, Gershman said.

What’s different about the evil eye? We’re told:

“Witchcraft beliefs are likely to erode trust and cooperation due to fears of witchcraft attacks and accusations. The evil eye leads to underinvestment and other forms of unproductive behavior due to the fear of destructive envy, where envy is likely to manifest in destruction and vandalism involving those who own wealth,” Gershman said.

Okay, that’s enough. We don’t write much about social science. Perhaps you can see why.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Earth Day? Bah! How About Uranus Day?

Today is Earth Day. If you find that thrilling, we’re happy for you, but your Curmudgeon’s interests are far more cosmic.

According to Wikipedia, Uranus, which we tactfully refer to as the Seventh Planet, was discovered by Sir William Herschel. He first observed it on 13 March 1781, and initially reported it on 26 April 1781 — 235 years ago. It’s the first planet discovered with a telescope. Creationism had nothing to do with it.

Because the world was made aware of Herschel’s discovery on 26 April, we think that’s the appropriate date on which to celebrate Uranus Day. And it’s only four days from today! That’s when we should get together with friends, raise our glasses, and declare: “Here’s to Uranus!”

This is an idea you can all, ah, get behind. As a creative challenge, you might want to suggest other slogans for Uranus Day. Tasteful slogans, of course.

Your Curmudgeon is pleased to offer this proposal as a service to all mankind.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Eighth Anniversary — Free Fire Zone

Eigh years

Today, 02 April 2016, is the Eighth Anniversary of the start of this blog, when our first post appeared: Clarke’s First Law and Intelligent Design.

Last year’s anniversary post was was number 5,035. This one is number 5,703. We’ve added 668 posts to our humble blog during the past year.

Last year at this time we had a cumulative total of 3.35 million page-views. Now we have almost 4 million — well, it’s only 3.965 million. That doesn’t include RSS subscribers and others who read us without actually visiting.

Traffic has been down a bit this past year. We attribute that partly to Google. They’ve been slow to index our posts. But there’s the more important fact that news about The Controversy between evolution and creationism hasn’t been as wild and crazy as it was in the past — and that’s a good thing. However, it means that there’s less news for us to write about.

Let’s look on the bright side of all those slow news days. No new creationist legislation has been enacted, despite the Discoveroids’ efforts. Our blog may have a few less viewers each day, but the Discoveroids appear to be really suffering. And there’s been almost no creationist litigation — except for Hambo’s Ark. Well, the Mark Armitage case is still alive, but it doesn’t generate any news. It’s scheduled for a settlement conference in July. There’s also an appeal pending of a creationist suit in Kansas which was dismissed at the trial court level. They’re trying to invalidate the evolution-friendly Next Generation Science Standards for that state’s schools. Briefs have been filed, and now we’re waiting for a decision. It’s all ho-hum stuff for now, but we’re not complaining.

Last year at this time we were concerned that we’d have to move the blog somewhere else, because Word Press had launched a stripped-down new editor named Beep Beep Boop, and the original editor — although still available — was becoming increasingly difficult to access. Since then they’ve replaced Beep Beep Boop with a different editor, which isn’t much better. Although it’s clumsy to get to, the old editor is still available, so we haven’t had to move — not yet.

And so we begin our ninth year of blogging from the fabled CITADEL — the Curmudgeonly Institute for Tactics, Advocacy, and Defense of the Enlightenment Legacy — the secret global nerve center for monitoring events throughout the Creosphere, where your Curmudgeon is headquartered in his luxurious underground control room.

Because this post contains no news, go ahead and use the comments as an Intellectual Free Fire Zone. As with all our free-fire zones, we’re open for the discussion of pretty much anything — science, politics, economics, whatever — as long as it’s tasteful and interesting. Say what you will, beware of the profanity filters.

We now throw open the comments to you, dear reader. Have at it!

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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