Wednesday, October 22, 2014
So according to The Friendly Atheist, God’s not dead is getting a sequel. That’s right, a motherfucking sequel.
I find this hilarious. Apparently people are hungry for atheist stereotype poor logic defense of irrational beliefs. Go at it then. At the end of the post, Hemant issued a challenge to commenters:
So let’s have a contest! In the comment section, leave your idea for what the plot of God’s Not Dead 2 will look like. I’ll pick a winner at random in a few days and you’ll receive a free shirt from Hypatia, Ltd., a new company started by an ex-Muslim. 10% of all sales from now through the end of the year will go to the Malala Fund.
I posted the following proposal for the plot of God’s Not Dead II:
God's Not Dead II: Electric Boogaloo.
A hell hound defiles Kevin Sorbo's grave, and he returns to unholy life. Filled with atheist rage, he assumes commands over all of the world's governments and passes a law that all citizens must be tattooed with the number 666 to show property citizenship. All Christians mysteriously disappear before the holocaust begins. Except for our hero, the recent college graduate, who must don the mantle of warrior once again and battle his way through hordes of satanic zombies to get to the source of evil, the anti-christ Kevin Sorbo and pave the way for the second coming of Jesus. To be continued...
Seriously, is that not the most fucking awesome Christian movie plot ever??? Apocalypse? Zombies? Massacres? Giant presses filled with people squishing the blood out of them? Explosions? Total Michael Bay shit! Go vote for me right the fuck now. I need more T-shirts and shit.
Friday, October 17, 2014
So this happened:
(I’m having a little trouble with the link in my blogging software, so I’ll post it here just in case it goes horribly wrong).
First of all, I like Russell Brand. I do. I don’t exactly think he’s any kind of bastion of intellectual thought, but his heart is in the right place. But here, like with Ben Affleck, he’s adopted this mainline liberal idea that Muslims are this big giant group of peace loving hippies and there’s just a couple of bad apples who run around blowing up buildings trying to make Islam look bad.
So I find my self in the uncomfortable position of actually agreeing with Fox News. Yes, they got something right. There are scores of human rights abuses in Islamic countries ruled by Sharia Law. However, Fox is right but for the wrong reasons, and they get the point wrong as usual.
You see, Fox has an agenda. They target a Christian conservative audience and play on their fears to increase viewership. To a conservative Christians, Muslims are fuckin’ scary. We sort of ran out of bad guys with the fall of the (godless communist) Soviet Union in the early 90s, and 9/11 gave us a new one: Muslims!
In this case, the facts fit Fox’s narrative beautifully, as long as you don’t back up and look at the bigger picture. The Quran does endorse subjugation of women. It does call for killing infidels and apostates. Fox says that you can be killed for “sins” but it’s actually a bit more specific than that. Only certain sins will merit the death penalty, and leaving Islam is right up there. I can only assume they dodge that one because *gasp!* it makes atheists look persecuted. Fox hates atheists too, so they can’t go there. But back up a little, take the 40,000 foot view, and you can say that Islam commands death for the commission of (certain) sins. See how easy it was to twist that little fact to fit a narrative?
So lets take Brand’s claims into account here. There’s 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, and the vast majority of them aren’t running around blowing up buildings. Yes, true. But Fox was actually talking about human rights abuses, and these occur at an alarming rate in many Muslim theocracies. The problem, of course, is more complex than anything that can be summed up in a simple sentence and plastered on a picture of Morgan Freeman for circulation around the internet.
What Fox is missing is the fact that any criticism that can be leveled against Islam can also (and should be) leveled against Christianity. Christianity had Theocracies with human rights abuses a while ago too. We call them the dark ages now. Islam is currently in it’s own dark age.
You see, the problem isn’t Islam, it’s Theocracies. It’s following bronze age religions in the information age. But you have to love the irony of Fox News decrying a Theocracy, considering how much time they’ve spent suggesting that we become one.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
In case you’ve been living under a rock, you may have missed the little spat between Bill Maher, Sam Harris, Reza Aslan, and Ben Affleck.
That’s right. Ben. Fucking. Affleck. Because his opinion is somehow important.
So let’s recap to bring you up to speed.
First this happened:
Then this happened:
Then this happened:
Just in case you didn’t take the time to watch those (or they’ve been taken down since I posted this) I’ll recap:
Bill Maher: You liberals who defend Islam suck. Islam is bad. Rih rih bad. They kill you n shit. Liberals who don’t speak out against the violence of Islam suck.
Reza Aslan: Oh no you didn’t! Bill Maher is wrong because he’s dumb. I’m smart. Listen to me. Islam fucking rulez, beeches! BTW I’m smart and he’s dumb!
(Spoiler alert: that’s called the ad hominem attack and is a way for pseudo-intellectual assholes to assert their superiority without actually making good factually based arguments. I kinda hate that shit)
Bill Maher: Huh? Islam kills you n shit for not being Islamic. Or leaving Islam. Or drawing Muhammad. Or basically doing fucking anything that isn’t sucking Allah’s imaginary motherfucking dick.
Ben Affleck: Whatever. Islam is awesome.
Bill Maher: WTF? Here’s some facts. They’ll fucking kill your ass!
Ben Affleck: Whatever you motherfucking racist!
Bill Maher: Racist? Islam isn’t a race, it’s a motherfucking religion, bitches! WTF are you talking about?
Ben Affleck: I’m right because I’M MOTHERFUCKING BEN AFFLECK BITCHES!
Bill Maher: But… but… facts?
Ben Affleck: FUCK YOUR FACTS BITCH! I’M MOTHERFUCKING BEN FUCKING AFFLECK AND I SAY ISLAM IS FUCKING GREAT N SHIT! MEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!! COME SUCK IT BITCH!!!!
Sam Harris: Ok, I’ll concede this one point to you…
Ben Affleck: FUCK YOU BITCH! WHO’S YOU DADDY?!? ME!!! I’M YOU MOTHERFUCKING DADDY! CUZ I DID UR MOM! LIKE THIS!! OOOOOH YEAH!!! SMACK THAT ASS BABY!!! WOOOOO!!!!!
Okay, full disclosure: I’m drinking while I write this, so my synopsis of the exchange might be slightly off, but I think I got the general gist of it. Basically I’m the Mr. Cranky of the liberal atheist blogosphere. Except people actually read Mr. Cranky.
So as you might have surmised, I have a slight problem with this. I’ll give you the right answer in advance: Bill Maher was right.
It goes like this. When you say “black people be like” you’re a fucking racist. There’s no African-American manual where you can glean what they think from. They’re people. If you generalize them, you’re a bigot. End of story.
When you say “White people be like” you’re the same fucking thing. To get to the point slightly faster, you can put any race or gender in there and you get the same thing. Bigot.
But religion is different. When you criticize Christians, they have a manual. They’re more than happy to wave it in your face and quote from it. They get pissed off if you know more about it than they do and point out the bad parts. But some of them actually read the bad parts, and dutifully try to apply them. We call those assholes extremists. Islam is the same. You’ll find plenty of “moderate” Muslims who don’t go killing atheists or Christians or former Muslims or beheading cartoonists or filmmakers who have the audacity to tell the stories of abuse from the Muslim world, but they’re not exactly speaking up either. And the bad shit is in their holy book too, same as the extremists. So you can paint Muslims and Christians (and most other religions) with the same brush, because they actually have a source they’re getting this shit from. And we can go right to the source and criticize it, and we should, because there’s a lot of bad shit in there.
You see, the difference is that religion is an idea, not a set of physical attributes. And as an idea, like any human idea, it is open to criticism. And it should be. Religion is a terrible idea.
I’ve never identified myself as a liberal, even though most people consider me to be so. Most of my political leanings are to the left, because I believe that people are more important than things. That’s right, you don’t have to have a holy book to think morally like that. But these pseudo intellectual shitheads like Affleck and Aslan piss me right the fuck off. They’re liberal because they think it’s cool. They don’t give a fuck about facts, they take whatever they think they’re supposed to think and run with it.
Fuck that shit. Islam deserves criticism.
Monday, February 3, 2014
You may have heard about the recent flap over the Coca Cola commercial that so enraged the right wing ideologues. Of particular interest was a blog post by Michael Patrick Leahy (at Breitbart.com, so you know this will be entertaining) who is upset that America the Beautiful might be sung in a language other than English. However, since he only speaks ideologue, I found that ironic. I’ve decided to help out and translate his blog post into plain English so that we can all benefit from his wisdom.
“Executives at Coca Cola thought it was a good idea to run a 60 second Super Bowl ad featuring children singing "America the Beautiful" – a deeply Christian patriotic anthem whose theme is unity – in several foreign languages. The ad also prominently features a gay couple.”
Executives are bad when they make decisions I don’t like. When they pay me to push their point of view though, they’re awesome. America the Beautiful mentions God therefore the entire song is about God, not America. I’ve never actually listened to the words. There were two men in a shot together for a half second therefore they must be gay because I’m a bigot and hate gay people.
Conservatives instantly lit up social media with objections, with many vowing to boycott the soda company's products.
Haters gonna hate. That’s us. We’re the haters. We must object to this message of tolerance and acceptance. There’s no money in that shit.
“If we cannot be proud enough as a country to sing 'American the Beautiful' in English in a commercial during the Super Bowl, by a company as American as they come — doggone we are on the road to perdition," said former GOP Rep. Allen West.
I know a black man, therefore I’m not racist. I wonder if his ancestors loved America enough to learn the language within five years when they got here…
The lyrics of the song, written in 1893 by Wellesley College Professor Katherine Lee Bates, ask God to grant America “brotherhood / From sea to shining sea.”
As far as the executives at Coca Cola are concerned, however, the United States of America is no longer a nation ruled by the Constitution and American traditions in which English is the language of government. It is not a nation governed in the Anglo-American tradition of liberty. It is instead a nation governed by some all inclusive multi-cultural synthesis of the various forms of government in the world, as expressed by the multiple languages used in the Super Bowl ad to sing a uniquely American hymn that celebrates our heritage.
America is for white people. I really only know white people. I get scared when I see people with dark skin. It’s ok if they’re cleaning floors and stuff, but mostly I only want to see white people because people who aren’t like me scare me. Also, something or other about the Constitution. Actually I’ve never read the thing and I don’t have the first clue why the Constitution has anything to do with this, but you’ll think I’m smart if I act like I know what the Constitution says. Actually I’m just an uninformed bigot but you morons will buy anything I say.
“We don't get to pick and chose whether America should be diverse or not,” says one of the women featured in the ad on a behind-the-scenes video posted by Coca Cola, “It is diverse.....We need to celebrate all the different diversities.”
If I close my eyes and cover my ears and shout “LA LA LA” I can actually make myself believe that America is populated entirely by English speaking white people. Diversity is bad. Everybody should be like me.
The old “America the Beautiful” is beautiful because of the blessings God had heaped on it and because its government offers “liberty in law,” while aspiring for togetherness. Coca Cola's America is beautiful because of the differences in its people. When the company used such an iconic song, one often sung in churches on the 4th of July that represents the old “E Pluribus Unum” view of how American society is integrated, to push multiculturalism down our throats, it's no wonder conservatives were outraged.
I don’t actually understand patriotism, just religion. I spew hate and intolerance and call it patriotism. You people believe me. Actually America was built on diversity and acceptance and that’s true patriotism, but what’s really going on here is I’m bitching about the free market at work. I preach the free market all the time but don’t actually understand that either. I’m going to complain when it doesn’t work the way I want it to and try to twist something more enlightened than I am into some kind of threat. We neo-conservatives thrive on fear, so we spend a lot of time trying to make you afraid. We’ve actually figured out how to make money off of it. Thanks, morons!
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Thursday, September 12, 2013
It’s become a little bit of a tradition, I suppose, for me to evaluate where we are every September 11th. I thought about this earlier today and realized, I don’t have anything very profound to say this year, the 12th anniversary of the worst attack the United States has suffered in my lifetime. Not that anything I ever say is all that profound.
The day before, President Barack Hussein Obama addressed the nation on the current Syrian crisis. I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about this.
The Syrian crisis is complex (as any international conflict is) and I’ve only taken a cursory look into what’s happening. The only thing the government and the media have really focused on is the fact that the Syrian government appears to have used sarin gas in a suburban area killing something on the order of 1400 Syrian citizens. I don’t know all that much about sarin gas either, but it’s apparently quite nasty. Foaming at the mouth, bleeding from places you should never bleed from, altogether a quite horrible death.
The United Nations has outlawed the use of chemical weapons and for very good reason. Some have made the argument that dead is dead and we don’t get that worked up when thousands are hacked to death with machetes. We should, in fairness, but chemical weapons are especially nasty.
But strangely the U.N. seems reluctant to enforce this law when it comes to Syria. The reasons for this, too, are complex. Syria is a Russian ally, and Russia is boycotting any action to be taken as a result. It seems odd to me that Russia is single handedly powerful enough to prevent the U.N. from enforcing international law, but I don’t pretend to understand all of the complexities here.
Long story short, since this isn’t really a post about Syria, is that John Kerry seems to have accidently stumbled across a possible diplomatic solution, and Russia and Syria so far seem to be on board. I hope that pans out, but I find it slightly amusing that John Kerry, former Vietnam war protester, who in 2013 seems to be all for bombing the fuck out of Syria, accidentally found a possible peaceful solution. Again, this isn’t really about Syria, so I’ll leave it at that.
The reason I bring up Syria, and more importantly president Obama’s speech, is because as I was watching it, I was uncomfortably reminded of President Bush and his administration’s arguments for the invasion of Iraq. We all know how that turned out.
As I said, the Syrian conflict is complex. The Syrian government seems to be tyrannical and despotic, but from what little I’ve learned about the rebels, we really don’t want those assholes to replace this guy. I read a story just yesterday about how one of their leaders shut a boy in the face in front of his mother for supposedly blaspheming Mohammed. By the way, if any Syrian rebel leaders happen to be reading this FUCK MOHAMMED AND FUCK YOU YOU SICK FUCKERS. TAKE YOUR FUCKASS BLASPHEMY SENSITIVITIES AND STICK THEM SO FAR UP YOUR ASS IT COMES BACK OUT YOUR SHITTY EARS.
Sorry. That kind of shit pisses me off.
The point was, I hope history isn’t repeating itself. I hope we’ve learned something from the past 12 years. I feel for the Syrian people, but at some point we have stop going to war.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
The atheist/skeptic community is busy tearing itself apart again.
I walked away from the organized atheist/skeptic community a while ago over the Atheism+ thing. The reasons I did so were complex, as usual. It’s not that I disagreed with the ideals of Atheism+. I agree with them 100%. I think perhaps it was poorly named, but that’s another story. I think I may have already blogged about that too. What turned me off was the vitriol which came so easily from both sides of the argument. Those opposed to Atheism+ demonized those who supported it. Those who supported it seemed to become instantly intolerant of any dissenting opinion. I’m not talking about the hate mail that Jenny McCreight received, that was despicable and she has my sympathy for what she’s endured. But I saw exchanges where one person was mocked, ridiculed, called disgusting names, and ultimately banned by a popular Atheist speaker that I normally respect simply for asking a (reasonable) question. Had somebody told me about that incident second hand, I would not have probably believed it, but I read the exchange myself. Like any good skeptic.
Rather than take sides, I walked away.
That entire incident came on the heels of a scandal where another popular atheist blogger was propositioned in an elevator at a conference. A huge shit storm ensued as soon as Richard Dawkins chimed in. I’ve already made my stance on that incident clear in a previous post, but that reason for bringing it up again is thus: The court of public opinion tried, convicted and sentenced Dawkins within a day because he dissented. Do you see a pattern emerging yet? Let me give you one more example.
A few days ago, PZ Meyers posted a bombshell. So far I haven’t posted any links to back up anything I’m saying (I don’t have to, it’s a fucking blog, so chill the fuck out) but I’ll go ahead and look this one up.
In case you didn’t bother to read it, PZ was made aware of an accusation of rape against Dr. Michael Shermer of Skeptic magazine.
I’m going to have to choose my words carefully here, because the court of public opinion in the atheist community is fast and vicious.
First, let me say this: Rape is serious. Rape is never not-serious. *Every *Single *Accusation *Of *Rape *Should *Be *Taken *Seriously. Every one. I feel very strongly about that. Something like 1 in 3 women get raped, if I recall correctly. I know several victims personally, and some of their stories are the worst kind of horrific rapes you can possibly imagine. Stories that make you lose hope in humanity.
False accusations do happen. There is a difference between taking an accusation of rape seriously and just believing it blindly. Belief without evidence is called faith. That’s what the religious do. We’re skeptics. We need evidence.
The result of PZ’s little hand grenade is that the atheist community seems to largely have already convicted Dr. Shermer. To be honest, I’ve avoided this so far. Dr. Shermer is one of my favorite writers and speakers. I have an immense amount of respect for Dr. Shermer. On the other hand, I’m fully aware than whenever you set someone on a pedestal and make a hero out of them, they invariably disappoint you because they are, after all, merely humans just like you.
So let’s get this out of the way first. Did he do it? I don’t know. I truly don’t. To be honest, there’s only two people who do. One of them is Michael Shermer and the other one is anonymous. That’s because we don’t know all the facts here. In the American Judicial System (I can’t believe I’m about to defend that collection of clowns after what I’ve just been through, but…) you are (supposed to be) innocent until proven guilty. This is a good thing.
In the court of public opinion, the atheist community at large, and the most especially the Internet, You’re guilty. Period. One accusation and you’re done.
I just got done reading a post by a guy who managed to piss of Shermer via e-mail and proudly posted all the exchanges while mocking him. A slew of comments talked about what a scumbag Shermer is.
I think this is wrong. I want desperately for this accusation to be false. But it might not be. But I can’t go condemning Dr. Shermer until it is shown to at least likely be true. I don’t think that has been done yet.
This is what skepticism is all about, folks. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. That’s how we work. Let’s all calm down on the judgmentalness until the facts are in. Keep in mind that Dr. Shermer’s reputation has all ready taken a serious hit whether the accusation is true or not.
We’re better than this, people.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
A dark room. I sit in it alone.
A knock at the door. I get up to answer. It’s not my door.
I pick my book back up. A beep from my phone.
Sale at Sears.
I put the book down.
I can ease the pain for one night. But tomorrow will just be that much worse.
I could die all at once, but instead I die just a little and go to sleep.
After all, I have tomorrow to get through.
Friday, April 5, 2013
Roger Ebert died today. I haven’t talked about him much, but in recent years he’s become a real inspiration for me. I knew he was sick, but I didn’t expect that we would lose him so soon.
I forget the exact article I read that keyed me into the fact that Roger Ebert was so much more than just a movie critic, but I began reading his blog. My favorite posts was the ones where he was not writing about movies, but pondering on our polarized political climate, gun violence, and other issues. I think one of his most powerful posts was one of his last, this one: http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2013/03/a_shooting_in_harsh_park.html
He doesn’t posture, he doesn’t preach, he simply relates yet another senseless killing by gun related violence. The power of the post comes from the fact that it’s short, for the most part simply relates an incident most of us probably didn’t hear about, and most importantly the final paragraph. You can sense his frustration with humanity, almost defeat in his tone. There’s a world weariness that comes through. He sees this incident through a lens that most of us don’t. This is a story that should have made national news. It should have dominated headlines across the country for weeks. But it didn’t. It was lost in an onslaught of other, equally tragic, gun related murders that happen each and every day. We, as a society, as a people, as humans, should all be working together to find a solution, but we don’t. The only discussion that every happens is political posturing. One side shouts “guns don’t kill people, people kill people!” and the other side shouts “gun control now!” All any of us seem interested in is winning an argument, but in the meantime we continue to kill countless numbers of ourselves every single day.
Gun violence is a complex issue without a single simple solution, but we as a society seem incapable of having a serious honest discussion about it and implementing any kind of solutions at all. It kills one’s faith in humanity.
Gun control is almost certainly part of the solution. What the second amendment actually says aside, I don’t think it’s necessary to ban all weapons, but there is no reason that average citizens in a civilized society need assault weapons designed for combat. An AR-15 has one purpose and one purpose alone, to kill lots of people quickly. It is only being used properly when being used to kill lots of people quickly. Whatever else my be true of the Sandy Hook killer or the Colorado movie killer, they were using their weapons exactly as they were meant to be used. There is no justification for weapons of this sort to be made available to the general public.
But there are so many other factors that factor in to the issue. Poverty, poor education, and economic inequality are all factors that are rectifiable, but we can’t have honest discussions about these issues either.
In short, I share his frustration when watching Americans posture and shout and sling old tired memes around rather than trying to find a way to make life better for anybody. I identified with the man. More than I even knew. Michael Shermer reposted this article written by Ebert then I had never read before:
I didn’t know he was an atheist. It honestly never occurred to me to wonder. He didn’t blog about religion much. He was simply Roger Ebert, human being, supporter of the philosophy of Kindness. I respected and identified with him without even knowing that he was religion-free just like me.
That’s how it ought to be for all of us.
I will miss Roger Ebert. I will miss his thought-provoking insights, his desire to see humanity rise above itself, his powerful intellect. And yes, dear sister, those times when we were kids and would all sit down and watch Siskel and Ebert review the new movies together.
Good-bye, Mr. Ebert. The world was made better for having had you in it.