Did Jewish Slaves Build the Pyramids?

No, almost certainly not.

In 1977, Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin visited Egypt’s National Museum in Cairo and stated “We built the pyramids.” Perhaps to the surprise of a lot of people, this sparked outrage throughout the Egyptian people, proud that they had built the pyramids. The belief that Jews built the pyramids may be prominent throughout Christian and Jewish populations, but it’s certainly not the way anyone in Egypt remembers things.

Well, whatever Menachem Begin believed, the evidence does not support that assertion. The historical evidence we have suggests that no Jews were in Egypt at the time of the Pyramids. (The Exodus didn’t happen either.)


Hating, and Hating the Messenger

“The real test is this. Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils.”
— C.S. Lewis

Former Conservative posts a stunning example of close-minded bigotry. A picture was doing the rounds, purportedly of Christians killed, burnt alive, by Muslims in Nigeria. On Facebook, some people were exclaiming about how horrible it was. A friend of FC interjected to point out the facts: the picture of burnt bodies is actually from a horrible accident: a fuel tank explosion. Whoever added the caption about Muslims killing Christians was lying.

As you may have guessed from the quote at the top there, this didn’t go down well.

Faced with this crossroads, the people on Facebook double down. LOL you must be a liberal or something. Of course. Anyone who cares about the truth, it seems, is a liberal.

Perhaps that’s not what they meant to say.

FC’s friend continues, posting a link to Exodus 23:1,

Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness.

The response comes again: ok so you are a leftist. Only leftists quote Exodus.

Conservatives do live in a strange parallel universe, don’t they?


Media distortion of science

Ben Goldacre appears on BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show. This is a funny clip about the media distortion of science, but it has some very serious things in it under the light-hearted veneer.

Warning: References to lies about cancer.
Warning: References to rape, and to victim-blaming.

The most shocking thing in that video is the bit about rape. Yes, a scientific press release with the headline “Promiscuous men more likely to rape” was reported in The Telegraph with the headline “Women who dress provocatively more likely to be raped, claim scientists”. Really. Ben Goldacre has more details on his blog.


P.S. This may be an apt time to remark again that this is my links blog. It’s just links to things I find interesting elsewhere. And it is very rarely current. This is an ancient story. It’s still interesting, and it’s something I may wish to refer back to, so I stick it up on my blog for ease of reference. That’s the way my mind works.

Something is very wrong at TAM

The sceptical/atheist conference TAM (The Amaz!ng Meeting), organised under the auspices of JREF (The James Randi Educational Foundation) has had trouble recently with allegations of sexual harassment of female attendees. The latest reports, though, show that TAM needs a complete change in leadership if it is to retain any credibility.

Two women reported to DJ Grothe, president of JREF, that a man at the conference had been using a camera on a monopole to take photos up their skirts. Nothing was done about it.

This was some time before Grothe made the statement,

It should be said that there has never been a report filed of sexual harassment at TAM to my knowledge and there have been zero reports of harassment at the TAMs we’ve put on while I’ve been at JREF.



How to Handle an Argument: Tim Minchin

The context of this discussion is “elevatorgate” (though, since the incident occurred in Dublin, it should be “liftgate”). If you follow the atheist blogosphere, or perhaps the feminist blogosphere, you’ll know what that is. If you don’t … I’m not going to explain it now.

Anyway, we have some wise words from Tim Minchin. And some more context from Token Skeptic.


Rick Perry’s officials censor science (Fuck you, Republicans, part 3)

In yet another example of US Republicans being general dickheads and working to make life worse for … well, everyone, officials in Texas have bowderlised a scientific report to hide the effects of climate change. The authors of the report asked to have their names removed from the paper, as they don’t want to be associated with the pseudoscientific nonsense being published by the lying liars of the state government. The cuts to the paper were purely political in nature.

Mother Jones reports,

[The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality] even deleted a reference to the fact that the bay is currently rising by 3 millimeters a year—five times faster than the long-term average. The edited version that TCEQ sent back also killed a line noting that the bay’s “future will be strongly regulated by the now rising sea,” as well as the factual assertion that the disappearance of the wetlands is “due mainly to direct human intervention.” The officials also cut out the statement that the water level rise “is one of the main impacts of global climate change.”

The Commission is run by people appointed by Perry. Personally, I’m in favour of a non-political civil service.

I seriously don’t get the Republican party. They seem to believe that they can invent their own facts. Perhaps that’s what makes them so often look like some form of surrealist art project. When they aren’t looking scary.


(Fuck You, Republicans: part 1, part 2.)