The Watering Hole, Wednesday, July 29th, 2015: Must-Squeee!


When you need a break from the lunatic asylum from which the Republican – gulp – Presidential hopefuls have escaped, here’s some peace and love amongst various species to ease your minds and soothe your souls.

From “Adorable Animal Friendships: Unlikely Pairings Will Melt Your Heart”, by Michele Berger and Edecio Martinez, courtesy of TheWeatherChannel, a gallery of 81 awwws, eeks, and squeees.  Just one to start:

tiger cub and piglets~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ll just bow out quietly and let you enjoy the calm…

Open Thread – take a deep breath and, um, let go?

The Watering Hole; Thursday July 16 2015; Ham and Dregs


Creationist Ken Ham: Richard Dawkins isn’t an atheist because the Bible says so

Ham, the founder of Answers in Genesis, said the Bible taught that everyone was endowed with an innate knowledge of God, even if they choose to deny it. In his blog post he promoted Monday on Facebook, he wrote that Dawkins had “made an interesting admission” during a 2013 appearance on The Daily Show.

“I don’t know what happens to us” when we die, Dawkins told host Jon Stewart, “but I know that our consciousness is wrapped up in our brains. I know that our brains rot.”

Ham, whose group operates the Creation Museum in Kentucky and is building a Noah’s Ark-inspired theme park, concluded that Dawkins couldn’t “prove his atheism.”

“So Richard Dawkins, a man who is so certain there is no God, is not totally certain about what’s going to happen to him when he dies. And yet he speaks with certainty as he tries to indoctrinate people to believe in his religion of atheism!”

Ham added that the “Bible clearly teaches there are no atheists,” citing Romans 1:18–21.

“God’s Word clearly states that He has put the knowledge of God within each of us. We all know there is a God. There are no atheists!”

Of course. Silly me for questioning him. It’s in the Bible which God wrote (I’d like to see some evidence of that as well). There is further support of Ham’s thesis, however, from Si Robertson of Duck Dynasty who told the Christian Post that he doesn’t “believe there’s such a thing as an atheist. Because there’s too much documentation. Our calendars are based on Jesus Christ,” adding that “Whether you believe in him or not, every time you write down the day’s date you’re saying he’s here.”

So that’s it then. I mean, who could ever doubt the theses of the founder of a Noah’s Ark Theme Park and one of the Duck Dynasty characters? Clearly we’re witnessing deeply embedded and inspired knowledge here, are we not? Proof that God is EVERYWHERE, right?

Well, no, not really. There are other alternatives, after all, and sometimes even the most simplistic make much more sense than the biblical.

I have, e.g. and thanks my untold numbers of days and weeks spent wandering around “out there,” occasionally run across what some might see as profound “evidence” that their biblical theses also do — certainly and clearly — apply to ALL of life. I mean hey, what are we to think when all of a sudden one stumbles upon something like this?

Cholla skeleton feb 1978 001Or this?

July 12 cruciform yucca flowers 1752If there be cruciform shapes embedded in the natural world — and since atheists clearly do not exist — what other conclusion could there be? Are they ‘proof’ of the biblical admonition that God is everywhere? Are they THE sign?

Nah. The top photo is of a cholla cactus skeleton on the Arizona desert, the second a cluster of yucca flowers in the Colorado foothills. And even though the cholla photo dates to February 1978 (A.D.) and the yucca to July 2015 (A.D.), there remains for consideration — in spite of Ham and Si — the far more logical option of total randomness where no God is required and where no “antique volume written by faded men” (Emily Dickinson) is needed to support anything other than various religious mythologies.

Seems to me that somehow Emily Dickinson also precisely defined both Ham and Robertson (and many many more like them) when she asked,

Can the Dumb — define the Divine?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and answer her question: No, they clearly and obviously can NOT, no matter how hard they try. As to why they endlessly KEEP ON trying? Well, that remains more baffling than anything I can imagine — save for this one simple and obvious non-baffling reality:

Tumacacori - Rear WallAtop the dome a cross of life
Points toward what man aspires;
But on each grave, the cross of death
Reveals what he acquires.



Sunday Roast: Confederate Flag Removed in SC

That’s what I call an excellent start.

I’m sure some you out there in the Land of the Interwebs are wondering to yourselves and others, “Why all the pomp and circumstance around removing the heinous Confederate flag?”

I’ll tell you why:  Because we were brought up with manners, and it’s best to remember that — always.

Wait…what?  Yeah, you heard me — manners.

Had the horrible, shameful Confederate flag been removed from the grounds of the South Carolina statehouse by the on-duty maintenance man, who promptly tucked it under his arm, walked to the nearest garbage bin, deposited said horrible flag, and then kicked over the bin — the way we all wish it had been done (or worse) — the ENTIRE story in the media would be the weeping and wailing over the lack of respect given to an important part of our history.  Which would give rise to us missing the damn point.  AGAIN.  STILL.

The Confederate flag is a part of U.S. history — like it or not.  History that is not kind or good, nothing to be proud of, nor is it remotely humane — like much of our history.  But like so much of our history, a story was built up around the Confederate flag and the Civil War, and it became romanticized through novels, movies, television series, and even our history books.  We found a way to live with ourselves — to generously forgive ourselves — for perpetrating the unforgivable crime of enslaving our fellow human beings to lay the foundation of our promising new nation, and enrich ourselves in the process.

The flag became a fanciful imaginary symbol of “Southern Pride,” whatever that is, and Southern “heritage,” which is claimed to be in no way racist or hateful.  But here’s the problem with such notions:  They. Are. Not. Reality.  The Confederate flag was created and acknowledged as a symbol of the Confederate States of America, whose purpose was to continue slavery and enforce white supremacy, along with other treasonous ideas.  More info in this article on Vox.

So the shameful Confederate flag has had more than its fair share of exposure and misplaced pride/nostalgia, and it’s time to put it in the Smithsonian museum with all the other relics, where we’ll teach and learn (re-learn, if necessary) the facts about one of the most terrible times in our history and the fall-out that continues to this very day.

If it takes remembering our manners and a bit of pomp and circumstance to achieve that with a minimum of fuss (or what counts as a lack of fuss these days), I can live with it — because it’s an excellent start.

This is our daily open thread — Let’s brace ourselves for the backlash…