24 April 2010


Synapostasy has officially come to an end. It was time for us to move on to new and different things.

Comments are now closed, but all the archives remain in place for your perusal. For more of my writing and other projects, please feel free to check out http://www.aarongolas.com/.

On behalf of Ben and myself, thanks for reading!

01 June 2009

Sex, Babies, and the RCC

Is it not interesting that men whose religion forbids them to have sex should be so vehement that nobody else should have what they cannot? (And, if they have it, they certainly shouldn't enjoy it)

Is it not also interesting that the women who are forbidden to bear children by that same religion are so vehement that the rest of the world should have as many babies as possible?

I wonder what the Western world would be like if the positions had been reversed? That is, if celibate priests were of a more vicarious mindset, exhorting people to have all the sex that they themselves can't have - and if nuns, conversely, were the dogs-in-a-manger, taking out their childless frustrations on the world by urging better birth control.

24 April 2009


An obligatory David Bowie video to accompany the post title:

Synapostasy is two years old today. (There's no telling what that is in blog years.) When Ben and I, emboldened by "The God Delusion" and the New Humanism conference at Harvard, began this blog back in 2007, it was intended to be a joint exercise in atheist activism and scholarship. We've drifted quite a bit from our initial "mission statement," in some ways, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I know I've expanded into general skepticism topics, and have embellished with some science topics or bits of fun from time to time.

After all, we, the authors, have changed, too. In the past two years, we've graduated from college. I found a job. I got married! And looking back at the archives, I feel a bit of a disconnect from some of what I've written before.

Blogging has been unhappily sporadic of late, for which I apologize. Let me assure you that I haven't been idle. The past few months, I've taken it upon myself to expand upon the single computer science course I took at Dartmouth and become more proficient in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and most recently a smattering of PHP. This has ultimately culminated in my decision to try my hand at hosting my own website. After some fiddling with WordPress, it's up and running for real. I officially unveiled Scion Gradient yesterday.

The freedom of having my own personal site is exhilarating, and so far I thoroughly enjoy using the WordPress platform. A new start may be precisely the change I needed to rejuvenate my writing. I wasn't necessarily planning to use that site to start a new blog, but the siren call is so strong...

Ben and I have yet to discuss what this development means for the future of Synapostasy. One way or another, more changes are in store. Stay tuned.

12 April 2009


Iesus Nazarenus Mortus Manet!

19 March 2009

Fancy Suit

It's been a while since I've paid any attention to OneNewsNow, the online "news" presence for the conservative Christian fundamentalist American Family Association. Part of it was their garish web design with ads that kept crashing my web browser. As juicy as the ignorance in the headlines might be, it's hard to comment on an article that you can't read. Another part was simple fundie fatigue. It didn't help any when they signed on Michelle Malkin as an editorialist.

So what ends the drought? A startling admission does. ONN (not to be confused with the Onion News Network, a far superior outlet to which I have no qualms about linking) posted an article yesterday about a lesbian high school senior in a "small farming community" in Indiana who wanted to wear a tuxedo to her prom. The school initially insisted that girls wear dresses, but relented when the ACLU filed a lawsuit on the girl's behalf, much to the chagrin of local Denizens of an Idyllic Paradise of Strict Heteronormity from a more Innocent Time. Hooray!

Now, I mentioned that the girl was a lesbian, which I'm sure was very important to the AFA, but it should be irrelevant. A tuxedo is legitimate formal attire, and should be an option available to either gender regardless of their motives for choosing it. You know who looks good in the right tuxedo? Just about everybody. Seriously, I'd take a straight girl in a tuxedo over half the monstrosities that pass for prom dresses.

What's notable about the ONN article, though, apart from the standard homophobia and knee-jerk ACLU bashing, is the uniquely candid perspective of AFA Indiana executive director Micah Clark:
Clark points out parents need to be aware that there are very few standards that schools can take a stand for and win in court. He adds that it is a sign of the times when even small, rural schools in conservative areas are not immune to the onslaught of the gay agenda.
Why, yes, Mr. Clark. It is a sign of the times when bigotry can no longer hide, even in the backwaters. And I, for one, couldn't be happier.

18 March 2009

Some Kinda Druid Dudes Lifting the Veil

St. Patrick's Day has never been one of my favorite of holidays, to be honest. Not that I have anything really against the holiday itself... any excuse for a party, right? But for the longest time, I wasn't even sure what it was supposed to be celebrating, apart from cheesy decorations and drinking to excess, neither of which particularly appealed to me. One might think to take refuge from the modern debauch by focusing more on what the holiday is ostensibly supposed to be celebrating, but the truth is, there's nary a bit in the St. Patrick story worth celebrating. St. Patrick was a missionary, well-known in legend for having driven the snakes out of Ireland.

And by snakes, I mean the native Druids.

The effects of missionary creep can be tragic enough, but it was doubly so in the case of the Druids, because they left nothing behind. The Druids remain an intractable mystery, and that's a goddamned shame. That culture is gone. A whole culture, gone, and with hardly a trace remaining apart from a few peat bog mummies and a handful of Roman writings (a source of limited value, to be sure).

Which is not to say that the Druids were a bunch of saints (so to speak); that's not the point, though I'll note that the human sacrifice business is heavily disputed. That's the tragedy, that we don't know. We just don't know. Too often, when an oral tradition died, so did the memory of it. They survive as figures of legend, especially in Irish literature, but we don't know anything about them.

But I suppose it was worth it in the end. After all, Christianity in Ireland has worked out so well for everyone involved. And Patrick got to return to the island that kidnapped him with the ultimate revenge.

Therefore, this St. Patrick's Day, I wore green and black, to mark the holiday in solidarity with the Druids. And I didn't touch a drop of alcohol all day. Though that was more due to the fact that we're out of whiskey in the house...

I mean, solidarity.

11 March 2009

Hand Jive

A reminder that good hygiene isn't restricted to laboratory practices:

Once again, via yeah-it's-high-time-I-dropped-this-from-my-feed-reader FailBlog.