Category Archives: Crazies

Too Dumb to Debate

not-sure-if-stupid-or-just-christianI find it funny how much flack I get for saying that debating theists is a waste of time, but time and time again, I find that with the religious, its just pointless to engage in any kind of intellectual religious discussion, they just don’t comprehend the basics and dragging them, kicking and screaming, through the most rudimentary logical discourse, only to have them remain blindly faithful at the end seems like a waste of my time.

I had that experience yet again today when, on Twitter, some theist showed up, spamming the #atheism hashtag with a load of nonsense.  Now if I’m bored, sometimes I’ll respond to something absurdly nonsensical and correct the theist and on rare occasions… wait… make that absolutely no occasions at all, a decent discussion will arise from that interaction.  I cannot remember a single instance where I’ve thought there was as worthwhile talk with a theist of any stripe on Twitter, where something was actually concluded or I thought progress had been made.  This is no different.

The guy, @PhillyLector, started spamming the channel with the typical “believe in God” nonsense and I responded that I’d think about it if he could present any objective evidence that God was actually real.  Of course, he couldn’t and was rather insulted that I’d even ask.  Oh course there was evidence, he told us that God existed and that should be all we need!  How dare I ask for more than his credulous word!  So I pointed out that all religions make the exact same statement and if he isn’t willing to take their word for the existence of their gods, why should I take his word for the existence of his?  Oh, because only his God is actually real!  How does he know?  Because he knows!  Now wait a minute, he’s already admitted that he has no actual evidence for God, how did he come by this knowledge?  He just did!  And what if a Hindu said he had the same knowledge about the existence of Krishna?  That Hindu must be lying because his gods don’t exist!

I trust you can understand the frustration of the next hour of around and around and around again, he couldn’t get through his head that every other religion out there is doing the exact same thing he’s doing and declaring their gods to be real and all other gods to be imaginary.  He is entirely incapable of even imagining the merest possibility that his beliefs could be wrong.  He is so totally and fanatically convinced that his beliefs are true that getting him to apply any reason or logic to his faith is sure to be met with failure.  He cannot fail.  He cannot imagine failure is even a remote option.

Yet this is how it is with all theists that I talk to.  It comes at different points, but there is always a point where they dig in their heels and won’t budge another inch.  I know people like to say “maybe you planted a seed”, but judging by these idiots that come back night after night, repeating the exact same claims, I doubt that’s true. Maybe someone in the peanut gallery got the message and deconverted?  I also doubt that happens very often, especially on something like Twitter where it’s a free-for-all.  I’ve noticed that a lot of the deconversion stories tend to come from people who were already looking for a different voice.  You don’t tend to find them among people who never leave religious forums and websites, you find them from people who are venturing out, reading atheist forums and blogs and specifically seeking out people outside of their religious tradition because they’re already having questions.  The likelihood of getting some random Christian on Twitter to deconvert is somewhere between slim and none because that’s not what they’re there for.  It’s the people who might come here to read my blog that I’d have a better chance at and frankly, I’d only try with those who weren’t here to stir up some shit.  I have no interest in converting to Christianity, that’s why I avoid looking at religious blogs, websites, forums, reading religious hashtags on Twitter, etc.  I’m just not interested in what they have to say, except in those rare cases where it’s so absurd that I laugh at it and I never go seeking those out.

So now I wonder why the hell I just wasted my time on this moron.  Maybe I ought to just ignore all theists on Twitter entirely, all of them just lead to frustration and face-palming.

News Flash! The Loch Ness Monster Disproves Evolution!

nessie-vs-jesusThere are religious stories that make you mad, there are religious stories that make you facepalm and then there are religious stories, like this one, that make you bang your head on the wall until you pass out from blunt force trauma.  Seriously, someone tell me these people can’t be this dumb!

A charter school in Houston, Texas, which unfortunately gets taxpayer money, has gone so far over the line into la-la land, I don’t think they could find their way back without GPS.  Their textbooks really prove exactly why it’s such a good thing that the 14 national textbook manufacturers in the United States told Texas to shove their curriculum where the sun don’t shine, otherwise we could be looking at nonsense like this throughout the nation.

iSchool, and if that name doesn’t make you cry, just wait, says that it’s goal “to get kids college — and career-ready,” yet their textbooks use the claimed existence of the Loch Ness Monster as a “proof” that evolution is false.  The passage in the textbook reads:

Have you heard of the ‘Loch Ness Monster’ in Scotland? ‘Nessie,’ for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.

Could a fish have developed into a dinosaur? As astonishing as it may seem, many evolutionists theorize that fish evolved into amphibians and amphibians into reptiles. This gradual change from fish to reptiles has no scientific basis. No transitional fossils have been or ever will be discovered because God created each type of fish, amphibian, and reptile as separate, unique animals. Any similarities that exist among them are due to the fact that one Master Craftsmen fashioned them all.

It also goes whole-Godwin and links evolution to the Nazis and the Holocaust.  Seriously, I couldn’t make this up if I wanted to, it’s so absurdly sad that it will leave you smacking yourself in the face.  Here it is:

[Hitler] has written that the Aryan (German) race would be the leader in all human progress. To accomplish that goal, all “lower races” should either be enslaved or eliminated. Apparently the theory of evolution and its “survival of the fittest” philosophy had taken root in Hitler’s warped mind.

The school, run by ResponsiveEd and founded by Donald R. Howard, former owner of Accelerated Christian Education (ACE), is bad enough, but you know what’s worse?  Educators at the fundamentalist Bob Jones University don’t think it goes nearly far enough!  According to BJU historian Adam Laats, “[a]ccording to BJU writers, the ACE and A Beka curricula failed to adequately educate their students academically or spiritually by neglecting … higher-order thinking skills.”

Well yes, they do neglect higher-order thinking skills, mostly because if they taught kids how to think, they might realize what a load of nonsense was being heaped on them in the form of religious bullshit.  In fact, neither BJU or iSchool are providing an education, they are shoveling faith-based nonsense into the heads of kids who are going to leave without knowing how to think critically or evaluate arguments intellectually.  They’re going to think that the Lock Ness Monster is real and that evolution came from Hitler.

And people wonder why the educational standards in this country such so bad?

Castrate Yourself for Christ!

Skoptsy-womanNow this would normally end up in the Religious Horror Show, but it’s a practice that’s since gone out of style and I try to limit my Sunday stories to things in the recent news.  This just goes to show how utterly insane religious beliefs can be when they take complete and utter leave of their senses.

This is the story of Skoptsy, a secret Christian sect in Imperial Russia that lasted from sometime in the 1700s until, believe it or not, the 1970s.  While it’s origins are a bit hazy, the first recorded encounter with the belief came in the Russian Oryol region when in 1771, Andrei Ivanov, a peasant, convinced 13 of his fellow peasants to castrate themselves, in the belief that a person’s genitals were an affront to God and you could not go to heaven if you possessed sexual organs.  Ivanov was scourged and sent to Siberia.  His partner in this endeavor, Kondratii Selivanov, was arrested, but escaped his punishment, declared himself the Son of God and demanded that all true God-fearing theists must castrate themselves in order to ascend into the afterlife.

Amazingly, after Selivanov’s death at age 100, this bizarre belief did not die out.  Skoptsy survived for nearly 2 centuries and encompassed people from all walks of life, from the peasantry to nobles, merchants to clergy.  In fact, it was so widespread that, between 1847 and 1866, nearly 1000 members were sent to Siberia and this was hardly a dent in it’s following.  There was a belief that the end of the world would come only after there were 144,000 Skoptsy followers in the world and, believe it or not, it’s estimated that in the early 20th century, their numbers rose to nearly 100,000.  However, it saw a sharp decline in the mid 1920s and by the early 1970s, Russia reported the belief system nearly extinct.  If there are any significant number of traditional Skoptsy followers today, it hasn’t made the news.  Those few that do favor the belief do not surgically castrate themselves, they simply live solitary lives, without contact with other humans, lest they become sexually aroused and their pure communication with God is disrupted.

Skoptsy followers believe that the apple that Adam and Eve ate somehow magically grafted itself to the human body, producing the genitals of both men and women and the only way to cleanse oneself was to surgically remove this evil from your body.  This was done in several stages.  The first stage, called the “first seal”, required men to remove their testicles and women to remove their nipples.  This was done without any form of anesthetic and was most often performed with primitive tools like hatchets or scissors.  The “second seal”, which completed the purification to the pre-Original Sin state required men to have their penis removed and the woman to engage in a complete breast removal, plus the majority of the labia and clitoris.  Because women were considered a bit more evil, it often required them to endure a painful ritual that cut away a triangle-shaped portion of their breast muscle.  It was only after this “second seal” was complete that Skoptsy believers thought they were pure enough to “ride the white horse of the Apocalypse” and travel to eternal paradise.

It’s clear that these people were crazy, but such religious fundamentalist extremism is seen far too often.  Without religion, it’s hard to believe that they’d convince 100,000 people to chop their private parts off with axes.  I guess they ignored Deuteronomy 23:1, the passage that says “If a man’s testicles are crushed or his penis is cut off, he may not be admitted to the assembly of the lord.”  It’s mighty convenient to be doing things that the Bible says specifically not to do and then think there’s nothing wrong with doing them.  Convenient reading is convenient.

Body mutilation is hard enough to justify, up until you believe that an imaginary friend in the sky commanded it, then people are lining up to have their genitals removed.  It’s one more of those things that just couldn’t happen without religion.  Religion doesn’t cause harm?  Bullshit.

The Lengths to Which Theists Will Go

JesusFacepalmI always find this funny, that theists, in a debate, will do almost anything to make their beliefs seem reasonable.  These theists will go to almost any length to suggest that either their beliefs are worthwhile or that everyone else operates on as much faith as they do.  Now usually, these people will get to a point where they just stop caring or stop responding, but occasionally you get those who just don’t know where to stop and just make their entire audience facepalm at their stupidity.  I’m sort of debating one of those right now.  I say “sort of” because I’m firmly in that facepalming mode right now, I have no idea where to go next and everyone else playing along is in the same position.

So we start talking about blind faith and how believing in something for which you can provide no objective evidence is foolish.  There had been a previous assertion that God was the only logical option for the beginning of the universe and I had pointed out that God wasn’t even an option because nobody had shown that God was actually real in the first place.  How can something that people just made up out of whole cloth be an option at all, much less the only logical option to explain an event?

So he comes back and says everyone lives by blind faith.  I asked for an example and he said that if someone in a crowded theater shouted FIRE!, you’d get up and leave the theater, whether you actually saw a fire or not.  You had faith, blind faith at that, that there actually was a fire, thus everyone lives by blind faith.  Well, no.  That’s not the way it works.  See, we all know that fire is real, we have personal experience with fire and the damage it can do.  We know that buildings, even theaters, can and do catch on fire and the most rational option, given even the possibility of a building you’re in being on fire, is to vacate the premises.  If the same guy stood up in the middle of the crowded theater and shouted TYRANNOSAURUS!, you wouldn’t move.  The possibility of a tryannosaurus rampaging through the theater is virtually nil (unless someone has developed time travel and we didn’t know it).  There’s no reason to run away, there simply isn’t an identifiable danger.

Then he tries to say that if  you were walking in the woods and you came face-to-face with Bigfoot, you would have no evidence that you had seen it, you couldn’t convince anyone else that it was actually real, but you would have plenty of evidence that would cause you to believe it happened. That failed too.  If you actually had a direct, physical encounter in the woods with Bigfoot, you could see it.  You could hear it.  You could smell it. You could potentially touch it.  If you tasted it, keep that to yourself.  You actually do have a way of subjectively measuring the experience. Granted, there are lots of  reasons why it may or may not be an encounter with an actual Bigfoot, but we’ll set those aside for the moment.  So let’s compare that experience to claimed theist experiences with a god.  First off, and I have debated literally thousands of theists over the years who have claimed to have had experiences with God, most of them actually haven’t.  They have had experiences and have attributed those experiences, without evidence, to something they label God.  There just is no direct causal link between any gods and the experience that they had.  At least with Bigfoot, even though you may not be able to tell the difference between what has been described as Bigfoot and a horribly mutated bear, at least it matches a specific description and you can attach a specific label to it, even if that label is found to be ultimately wrong in further examination.

But these God experiences, you can’t even point to a commonly held definition of what God is.  Different people have different ideas, different cultures believe in different gods and since you can’t even point to any absolute characteristics of God in these “experiences”, it’s just an assertion, nothing remotely like what we see in the Bigfoot example.  This can be clearly seen in the classical example, someone gets into a traffic accident and survives and claims that God saved them.  They completely ignore the actions of the ambulance drivers, the doctors, the nurses and the wealth of modern medical technology, they just assert that “God did it!”  They’ve just woven God into their explanation because it’s the answer that appeals to them emotionally the most.  If asked why it wasn’t Allah or Krishna or Santa Claus or a unicorn that saved them, they have no credible answers.  They don’t like those explanations so they reject them.  To this theist, just because these people think they had encounters with God means that they actually did have encounters with God.

Unfortunately for him, that’s too easy to take apart.  Drunks see the stereotypical pink elephants.  Just because they think they see these things, does that mean these things are actually real?  Of course not.  We know that excessive alcohol in the system can have detrimental effects on the brain and cause hallucinations and other similar experiences.  We also know that excessive emotions can cause a shift in brain chemistry and have similar effects.  These kind of religious hallucination are proven, without a doubt, to happen among the grossly faithful.  There are no supernatural explanations necessary.  So if a drunk can see a pink elephant that isn’t really there, why can’t a theist see a god that isn’t really there?

And that’s when he dove into the realm of the bat-shit insane.  He claimed that since we can’t prove that reality is, in fact, real, that everyone’s experiences are solely in their heads and therefore, everyone’s reality, no matter how different, are all real for them.  Of course, that really just shoots them in the head, it means that there’s no point in proselyting to anyone because while in your “reality” there might be a god, in my “reality” there might not be.  For Muslims, Allah is “real”.  For Hindus, Krishna is “real”.  For atheists, none of them are “real”.  What’s the point in trying to tell someone whose “reality” dictates that Zeus is the only god that actually, the Christian God is real?  It’s just not true!  This guy doesn’t care.  He’s whacked out of his skull and everyone on the place is pointing and laughing.  Of course this never dissuades the religious lunatics, it’s just one more reason why we, as rational people, should never take them seriously.

It’s amazing how far these people will go to protect their precious faith.

Pope Benedict’s Mystical Experience

PopeMiser
I’m Mr. Popemiser, I’m Mr. Slime. I’m an ex-Nazi Youth, I’m evil all the time…

The Catholic news agency Zenit published a story on Aug. 19, in which it claimed that the real reason former Pope Benedict stepped down from the papacy is that he had a “mystical experience” in which God personally told him to back away from the golden throne and spend the rest of his life in a solitary relationship with God.  This story reportedly came from one of the few visitors that have visited Benedict in his refurbished monastery, located on the Vatican grounds.

However, the Vatican was quick to refute the claim.  On the Italian TV channel Canale 5, the former Pope’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, told the media that the entire story was made up, “from alpha to omega”.

Now I can understand that, there are lots of stories being made up about the former pontiff, most of them are complete nonsense and I don’t think for a second that he stepped down because he got harassed by God.  I also don’t think he stepped down because of his health.  I think he did it because he knows that the shit is going to hit the fan and he doesn’t want to be the guy at the top when it does.  I also suspect that the real powers that be, behind the scenes in the Vatican, decided that Benedict was leading them down the wrong path and “suggested” he make himself scarce while they brought in new blood that might pay better attention to his masters.  That hasn’t worked out so well so far.

Still, he says some good things about Pope Francis.  According to the source, “[Benedict] said the more he sees the ‘charisma’ of Pope Francis, his successor, the more he is convinced that it was ‘the will of God’ that he became the first pontiff in 600 years to resign.”  Well funny that God didn’t see that coming, after all, wasn’t it God that supposedly convicted the College of Cardinals to elect Benedict in the first place?  It strikes me that God makes an awful lot of mistakes, but isn’t he supposed to be omniscient?  Isn’t he supposed to know everything and have the ability to do anything he wants?  So if he really wanted Francis in the Pope-hat, why did he waste so much time with Benedict on the throne?

In the end, I don’t think any of it matters.  I don’t think we can trust Benedict farther than we can throw him, especially since he wants people to believe that he heard voices in his head telling him to spend the rest of his life in prayer.  We have the Vatican which has been quick, in recent months, to pop up and tell the world what it’s supposed spokesmen actually meant to say, it’s clear who is really in charge of the Catholic Church and it’s not the Pope.

So if Benedict wants to go and spend the rest of his life babbling incoherently to himself, that’s fine.  Maybe that’s one of the many reasons he left, that he’s not quite right upstairs, if he ever was.  I just hope that Catholics start realizing that the tales that come out of the Vatican all need to be questioned, you really can’t trust anyone wandering around there, whether it’s their official mouthpiece or the men behind the scenes who really run the show.

More Entitlement Nonsense from the Skepchicks

waaah
The only face we ever see from Rebecca Watson

So the story goes, the Skepchicks, which have been active in the skeptical track at Dragoncon, were asked to pack up their free table in the fandom area of the convention, which provides free space for different fan groups to provide information and sell group-specific merchandise to the general convention going public. Why, you might ask?  Because they were violating the rules set down by Dragoncon that prohibited free fan group from selling general merchandise that did not bear the logo of the group in question.

Now before I get into the specific excuses and general whining that Rebecca Watson and Amy Roth have tried to spin in order to look better to their fans, let me say that while I am not a regular Dragoncon attendee (it’s on the other side of the country from me and I’m just not that interested), I have not only attended similar conventions for more than 30 years, I have worked at them and run them as well.  I have tons of experience in this area and I come down wholly on the side of Dragoncon in this instance.  Such low or no-cost tables are often provided for the benefit of other fan groups or other conventions as a place to pass out information about their events or clubs, they are not intended to be a money-making operation, but a publicity-generating table which can help those groups gain more attention and sign up new members at a convention where large numbers of potentially interested parties are in attendance.

But that’s not what happened here, no matter what Rebecca Watson said.  She has a complete and total misunderstanding of what these tables are intended for and, honestly, a confused grasp on her own role at the convention.  So let’s take a look at some excerpts from her statement about the affair.  I’m only going to quote select portions of her post, the rest can be read at the above link.

On Saturday, he came around and said he’d had a complaint from someone that we were selling buttons that were against the rules for fan tables. He explained the relevant rule, which on DragonCon’s site reads:

In deference to our dealers and exhibitors, who purchase a table or sponsor the convention, no general merchandise sales are permitted at concourse tables. You can sell logo merchandise from your organization and other items made exclusively for and by your club, band or organization. Dragon*Con does not charge a percentage of these merchandise sales.

And this guy was right, they were openly and blatantly violating the rules that it was their responsibility to know and understand.  She goes on to say:

(We hadn’t read that rule because Skeptrack admin Derek Colunado arranges all the skeptic tables and we have no contact with DragonCon.)

Ignorance of the rules is not an excuse.  In fact, it is your personal responsibility to know and follow the rules that the convention sets down regarding the activity you are engaged in.  “I didn’t know” isn’t a valid excuse, but the first guy they talked to was really nice about it, he pointed out some of the things that violated their agreement and after Rebecca and Amy promised to remove any offending merchandise, he left them alone.  He even explained the rule, which is quite clear.  The purpose of the tables is not to make money, it is to promote your group.  I can certainly understand Dragoncon’s position on this, they are selling tables to exhibitors for the purpose of making money.  Why would those exhibitors want to compete with people who are getting in for free? Of course, I’m sure Rebecca and Amy won’t see it that way because they can’t see beyond their own self-centered needs and desires.

We first tried to figure out why the rule changed from “logo merchandise from your organization and other items made exclusively for and by your organization” to “logo merchandise only,” but Cody did not acknowledge that the rule had ever allowed for non-logo merch. Then we wondered how we’d been able to sell everything in the past but not now, but Cody simply insisted we were flouting the rules. When we kept asking questions, he told us, “If you don’t like it, I can call my boss, and believe me, you do not want that to happen.”

While I have no way of knowing, I doubt that Dragoncon has changed their free table rules recently, it’s more likely that Skepchick has been unknowingly violating the rules for years and has just slid under the radar.  Even if they had recently changed their rules, it wouldn’t matter because it was up to Rebecca and Amy (or at the very least, Skeptrack admin Derek) to know what the rules were and to make sure they complied.  Clearly, the rule quoted above only permits for the sale of logo merchandise and items which are intended solely for the membership of the particular group.  Selling general merchandise, which is what most of the material on the table consisted of, is specifically prohibited.  They have nowhere to go in this regard.

I’m an “attending professional” at DragonCon, meaning that I get a free pass to perform on panels but I’m expected to pay for my own airfare and hotel, costs that add up to be nearly $1,000. I expect to take a loss, but selling some Skepchick merchandise at least helps off-set that loss. This year, I have hardly even made a dent in my expenses.

This is where Rebecca proves she has no clue what she’s doing.  Like it or not, going to a convention is not an all-expense-paid vacation.  In this particular case, she is trading her time speaking on a panel for a free membership to the convention.  That’s all.  In the interest of clarity, I get into just about all of these conventions free of charge as a professional.  I can’t remember the last time I paid to get into San Diego Comicon or Wondercon or any other convention, it’s been decades.  They do not cover my hotel space or my travel costs, those are up to me to cover and I don’t pretend that I have a right to violate the convention rules in order to recoup those costs.  Except for those headlining guests, who probably do get all expenses paid, and those celebrities whose expenses are picked up by their employers, pretty much everyone else pays their own way.

I have essentially paid hundreds of dollars to perform for free for a for-profit organization, whose representative berated me.

Welcome to the real world!  They didn’t berate  you because you paid a bunch of money to attend, but because you violated their rules, rules you inherently agreed to follow by accepting the badge.  You got exactly what you deserved because you broke the rules!  Nobody owes you a damn thing.  If you want to make money at the convention, buy a table and sell your wares like every other vendor.  If you don’t want to do that, there is no expectation whatsoever that you will make your money back.  If you can’t afford it, don’t go.

Of course, Rebecca Watson is never one to admit her mistakes, she immediately went to Twitter and whined about how awful it was that anyone held her accountable to the rules, citing abuse and harassment.  Never mind that she was completely in the wrong, never mind that she clearly had an attitude the whole time, she apparently thinks she’s entitled to do as she wishes and fuck the convention.

Hopefully, this will cause them to rethink her “attending professional” status next year and to reject their application for a free fandom table.  They’ve clearly proven, yet again, that these liberal feminist assholes are unable and unwilling to follow the rules and respect the officials at the convention.  They’re giving her a $130 4-day membership for free already, just for spending a couple of hours of her time sitting on her ass, talking to people.  She doesn’t deserve any more and I don’t think she even deserves that.  Hopefully, Dragoncon will realize what a pain in the ass she and her ilk really are.

33 Better Reasons Not To Be a Feminist Part 3

sexism toward men
Because this isn’t sexist, is it?

22 down, just 11 to go in my refutation of the supposed 33 reasons to be a feminist and so far, I’m just not impressed.  In fact, I’m noticing that many of these reasons are inherently sexist on their face, they worry only about the problems of women and entirely ignore the problems of men that may be as bad or worse.  The unfortunate reality is that many self-identified feminists who outwardly decry sexism are among the worst sexists themselves.  Funny, huh?

23.  Because approximately 3 million girls are victims of female genital mutilation every year.

I agree, that’s a horrible thing, but it’s totally out of context.  In the United States alone, 56% of all males born are circumcised before they ever leave the hospital.  In 2011, the last year I could find records for, there were 3,999,386 births.  Assuming an equal number of male and female births, that makes 1,999,693 males born and 1,119,828 circumcisions done in this country alone.  I could find no data that any female circumcisions were done at all in the U.S. in 2011.  However, other countries have a much higher rate of male circumcision.  Islamic countries, where most female circumcision is done, circumcise boys at a rate above 70%.  I was unable to find any records of how many total Muslims are born per year, but certainly since Muslims tend to breed at a relatively high rate, that number must be high and 70% of all boys are circumcised, dwarfing the number of female circumcision.  Yet the feminists aren’t making any noise about male genital mutilation, are they?

24.  Because there are approximately 2 million victims of sex trafficking each year.  85% of the victims are women.

And 15% are men and they’re not too worried about them, are they?  The reality is, studies have shown that many women voluntarily get involved in sex trafficking so they can travel the world.  It is relatively rare that women are simply kidnapped from poor countries against their will.  This kind of thing is very rare in the western world.  In 2008, there were reported 83 cases of sex trafficking in the U.S., but only 9% of these cases were legitimate.  While I’m right with you in opposing human trafficking and slavery of all kinds, I don’t have to be a feminist to do it.

25.  To spread awareness and knowledge about what feminism works for.  Equality.  Everyone who has a mother, sister, daughter, son or a friend would want them to have respect and rights, right?

Except it’s not.  I’ve already shown multiple cases in these posts that they are not after equality for all, they’re after equality for women and where women have more rights, they want to keep it unequal.

Jeans-ad-Scultz-commercial-226.  Because this is a real commercial for American Apparel.

Yes it is, so what?  It’s a woman wearing a men’s shirt.  She’s not naked.  She’s not being abused.  What is the problem here and why?  I know feminists are going to throw out some vague “objectivization” nonsense, but come on, give me a real, well thought out answer.  What specifically is wrong with that image?  Do you think they don’t do exactly the same thing for women’s products?  In fact, here’s a shot from another clothing commercial. this time for Scultz Jeans in the UK.  Is that an offensive ad?  If not, why not?  Again, a lot of this has been addressed in previous points, women seem to think that if a woman is portrayed scantily clad, it’s offensive, but if a man is shown the same way, it’s empowering.  Make up your mind, we only need one standard.

27.  Because domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women, more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.

Domestic violence goes both ways.  Male-on-female violence is certainly a problem, but there’s just as much female-on-male violence that largely gets ignored in our society.  Some studies have shown that women who assaulted their male partners were more likely to avoid arrest even when the male victim contacts police.  Others have suggested that women who batter their male partners were more likely to be seen as the victims instead of the instigators.  Police officers will often treat female-on-male violence as an insignificant crime and treat male victims as “pathetic figures”, ignoring the fact that violent women are more prone to use weapons in their assaults and thus, cause proportionally more damage to a man than a man would to a woman.  Experts estimate that 62% of women in shelters are just as violent as the men they escaped and that judges tend to disregard a history of physical violence by women, even in cases of violent murder of a male partner.

28.  Because this is a fact:  In 31 states, if a woman has a child as a result of rape, her rapist can sue for custody and visitation rights.

There is no law anywhere that specifically grants rights to rapists.  This is a completely misleading claim.  Men have a right to sue for custody and visitation rights for their own children.  In these 31 states, they haven’t specifically closed the loophole for rapists.  However, even if a rapist does sue, the chances the courts are going to grant visitation or custody are pretty much non-existent.  If the rapist is convicted of rape, it’s almost certain that anyone whose name is on the sex offender registry is never going to get legal contact with a child, even his own.  Besides, the woman is entirely free not to record the name of the father on the birth certificate, making it very difficult for the biological father to even take the case to court and, as I said, winning court is a virtual impossibility anyhow.  This is a patently dishonest statement.

29.  Because we need to be aware of the sexism that surrounds us and say NO to it.

Apparently this only refers to male sexism toward women because among feminists, there’s a lot of female sexism toward men and that’s fine and dandy.  In fact, it seems that women are far more sexist these days than men are if you apply a single standard to both sides.  I’ve seen people complain that women on TV are often scrutinized for their choices of fashion and their makeup, but news flash for you, it isn’t men, by and large, that are doing that, it’s other women!  For things like the Emmys or the Oscars, feminists complain that a woman’s dress may be criticized while a man’s suit is ignored, but the women are the ones who are paying absurd amounts of money, having famous designers make them something that stands out, specifically because they want to be noticed!  It’s a simple fact that feminists have made gender their number one priority, something that is, by it’s very nature, sexist.  If the goal is to have a gender-blind society, they are failing the test miserably.  Gender is all they pay attention to.  It’s all about quotas.  It’s all about keeping up with the proverbial Jones’.  They complain that the United States has never had a female President, yet ignore the fact that women have gotten significant traction in just the last couple of years.  Maybe if there were  some women ran that were worth voting for, we’d have one.  Feminists are aware of every instance of perceived sexism around them, except for the clear and present instance right in their own front yard.  Interesting, hmmmm?

New_Lara_Croft30.  Because we need to change the way women are being portrayed in video games, etc.

Video games have traditionally appealed to a predominantly male audience, it’s hardly surprising that  the character models, both male and female, would be designed to appeal to that demographic.  Today, lots more women are playing games and in those  genres where they are more prominent, the models are not nearly as bad.  Take the newest Tomb Raider game, Lara Croft, who was traditionally depicted with big breasts in a halter top and shorts has been re-envisioned as a more realistic character in both body type and abilities.  If this isn’t a strong female character, I don’t know what is.  How about characters like Jade from Beyond Good and Evil?  How about Samus from Metroid?  What about Cortana from Halo?  Or Jill Valentine from Resident Evil?  These same kinds of characters can be found in movies and television as well but they’re routinely ignored in favor of any female character that’s even the remotest bit sexy.  Feminists want something to complain about, not something to point to as a positive advancement.

31.  Because female fetuses are being aborted in China because they are not wanted.

Once again, how are feminists in the U.S. going to change the culture in China again?  Exactly what impact does declaring oneself a feminist have on Chinese cultural traditions?  None?  Just as I thought.

32.  Because women who are seen, who stand up for their rights and express their opinions often get threatened and hated.

If this wasn’t so absurdly hypocritical, I’d be laughing.  News flash for you people, *EVERYONE* who stands up for their rights and expresses their opinions gets threatened and hated.  Welcome to reality.  Where this gets ridiculous though is the  fact that men who are seen, who stand up for their rights and express their opinions, especially when those opinions oppose those of feminists, get some of the most vile threats and overwhelming hate I’ve ever seen.  Ask the MRAs.  People need to learn to stop being such delicate little flowers and deal with the reality around them.  You don’t see the MRAs setting up “safe zones” where they can feel “protected”, that’s the schtick of the feminists.  They want an echo chamber where only their own views and opinions are heard, then they go out and attack anyone who dares to speak out in a free and open forum.

33.  Because three men in Sweden walked free after raping a girl with a glass bottle until she started to bleed.

This is a bizarre entry, it refers to a single event and seems absurd as a reason to adopt a feminist worldview.  After all, there’s no way to correct this “injustice” no matter what position you adopt.  Truth be told, I wasn’t able to find much information on this particular story, there really wasn’t a lot of data on the criteria the judge used to make his decision, therefore I cannot speak to whether this was a good judgement or not.  However, I see feminists simply leaping to the conclusion that it must have been a bad decision because it isn’t one that makes them happy and I don’t see that being a very worthwhile position to take.

In the end, absolutely none of these 33 reasons is a legitimate reason to be a feminist.  I think that there are many women (and men) who currently identify as feminists, who really don’t understand what it means.  They will claim that they want equal rights for all and that’s a good thing, an idea I heartily support, but that’s not feminism, that’s egalitarianism.  Wanting equality across the board is a good thing, male and female, black and white, gay and straight, everyone deserves to have equal rights and equal protection under the law.  It simply makes no sense to identify as a feminist, which is an inherently sexist position to take, just as you wouldn’t declare yourself to be for racial equality and then join the KKK.  You cannot bring about equality for all by only focusing on the issues of one group, it is inherently irrational.

Let’s not forget what feminism really stands for and who better to remind us than the women who are largely responsible for starting and organizing modern third-wave feminism.  These are your leaders, gals.  These are the concepts that you support by defining yourself as a feminist.

“I feel that ‘man-hating’ is an honourable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them.”  – Robin Morgan, Ms. Magazine Editor

“To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he’s a machine, a walking dildo.”  -– Valerie Solanas, SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto

“In a patriarchal society, all heterosexual intercourse is rape because women, as a group, are not strong enough to give meaningful consent.” — Catherine MacKinnon, quoted in Professing Feminism: Cautionary Tales from the Strange World of Women’s Studies.

“The simple fact is that every woman must be willing to be identified as a lesbian to be fully feminist” (National NOW Times, January, 1988).

“All men are rapists and that’s all they are” — Marilyn French

Is this what you really believe?  If it is, you’ve lost all respect from me, although I doubt you care.  If not, then only you can do something about it.  Stop labeling yourself as a feminist and join me as a decent human being who wants equality for all and superiority for none.

33 Better Reasons Not To Be a Feminist Part 2

feminism-rape
No, no they can’t.

Welcome to the second part of my refutation of the 33 Reasons to be a Feminist pictorial presentation.  If you’ve read the first part, I’m sure it’s become painfully obvious that these images and their captions are extremely self-serving and make a lot of claims for which there is no corroboratory evidence.  This is very common among not just feminists, but among liberals of all kinds

I’ve identified three distinct types of claims being made here and being made over and over again.

  1. Statements with random statistics, made to elicit an emotional reaction without validating or verifying if the statistics are actually true.
  2. Claims about the state of women worldwide that feminists in the western world have no clue how to actually handle, nor can they demonstrate that declaring oneself to be a feminist will help to solve.
  3. Statements that assert blame be placed upon men while ignoring the simple fact that women bear at least some degree of responsibility for being in the situation in the first place.  Lack of responsibility or lack of personal control is a major issue in a lot of these claims.

But let’s get on with the next set of “reasons”, shall we?

13.  Because we are living in a society that teaches women to be careful not to get raped instead of teaching men not to rape.

Actually, we ought to teach both and I think that in most places, we do.  The idea that a woman should not be careful is really absurd.  It’s like saying “We live in a society where we teach kids to look both ways before crossing the street instead of teaching drivers not to hit them.”  No, we teach both of those things and it reduces the incidence of vehicular accidents.  That doesn’t seem to mean much to liberals though, who think people are inherently stupid and have to be taken care of.  Here’s a personal example.  I’m a woodworker, I use a lot of large and potentially dangerous machines.  A certain percentage of people get seriously injured by the whizzing blades of tablesaws, almost always because they were not careful, or did not take proper precautions, with their equipment.  People ought to be careful, people ought to think ahead about the potential dangers of their actions.  But no, this isn’t good enough for liberals, a decade or so ago, a group tried to force an expensive and proprietary safety system to be installed on all tablesaws so that even a 4-year old could use them safely.  This would have priced a lot of people out of the market as it would have raised the initial cost of saws by several hundred dollars and the replacement parts for these safety systems, once they trigger, could run in the $500+ range.  It was a lot of money to spend on a system that was unnecessary for the majority of woodworkers.  Luckily, this was ultimately defeated because the government saw through it, but it was a laughable attempt to reduce people’s personal responsibility for their own actions.  Yes, men should not rape, but people shouldn’t rob banks either, that doesn’t mean that a certain percentage won’t, that’s why banks have vaults and armed guards.  There’s a certain amount of common sense necessary, but I’ll discuss that more in #15 below.

14.  Because it is more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in modern combat.

That is complete bullshit, it comes from a quote by a U.N. peacekeeper, but it just doesn’t match up to any reasonable examination of the facts.  In the western world, certainly soldiers are relatively safe in a combat zone, modern technology has made it possible to protect our men and women on the ground.  For example, in Vietnam, the U.S. military suffered 58,282 deaths, but by the Iraq War, that number fell to 4486.  Soldiers are much safer than they used to be.  By the same token, women in the U.S. are a lot safer than they used to be, no matter what the feminists want to  think.  You will notice, on this very list, that a lot of the “horrors against women” are not in the U.S. though.  They want to compare apples to wheelbarrows.  If you look at like cases, say wars in 3rd world countries compared to the treatment of women in 3rd world countries, their claims just don’t match up.  Most nations in the 3rd world still fight very bloody, costly wars, where tens or hundreds of thousands of casualties are suffered on both sides.  Heck, look at what’s going on in Syria right now.  When the shooting starts, everyone suffers.  Once you compare like with like though, you find that it’s equally dangerous for *EVERYONE*.  That’s not to excuse their treatment of women, everyone ought to be opposed to it, but as I’ve said before, what solutions, beyond the magical, delusional, “everyone sing kumbayah” versions do feminists have for these problems?  None whatsoever.

15.  Because we want women’s bodies to be left alone and not a constant subject for discussion, disrespect, abuse and objectification.

third-wave-feminismThere are so many problems here, I don’t know where to start.  The most obvious is that the magazine pictured is a women’s magazine, intended to appeal to women and apparently, according to sales, it does very, very well.  Most check-stand tabloids do and they are all, without exception, aimed at women.  If you want to complain about someone, don’t complain about men, complain about soccer moms who buy that trash.  However, there’s another angle to take here and that’s the fact that the women in those photos *WANT* to be objectified!  They *WANT* to be talked about! That’s their purpose!  They are celebrities, they want attention and most of them don’t care if it’s  good or bad attention, so long as they remain the focus of public discussion.  Frankly, if some of these tabloid divas wanted to be treated with respect, they ought to act that way and it’s women who are enforcing that by buying the magazines.  This  goes back  to a previous question where women are the ones enforcing anorexic models on the runway.  So why be a feminist if women are responsible?  But this goes farther and this is as good a place to get into it as any.  Lots of liberals claim that it shouldn’t matter how a woman dresses or acts, it doesn’t give anyone a right to rape her.  I agree with that sentiment entirely.  She never deserves to be attacked, but the simple fact is, there are things that she can do that makes it more likely that she will be attacked and for that, she needs to take responsibility.  If I walk down a dark alley with $100 bills sticking out of my pockets, I am much more likely to get mugged.  Did I deserve to get mugged?  Of course not, but I put myself into a situation where the odds I will get attacked were dramatically increased.  If I didn’t want to get mugged, I shouldn’t have done that.  It doesn’t make me totally safe but it certainly reduces my odds.  A woman who dresses provocatively doesn’t deserve to get raped but she increases her  chances of getting raped.  Fair or not, that’s the way the world is and it’s about time liberals started living in the real world and not the fantasy liberal utopia that so many of them dream of.  If a woman goes to a party and gets drunk off her ass, she opens herself up to untoward consequences.  There’s a very easy way to reduce the risks and that’s not to do that, but liberals don’t want to talk about responsibility, nothing is ever their fault.

16.  Because we need to change the Patriarchal picture of men as an aggressive being who can’t control his desires.

This one doesn’t even make any sense, it’s phrased in feminist-speak with words that are not even well-defined.  Therefore, it’s not worth wasting time debunking it and I’ll just move on.

17.  Because several young men can rape a girl during an entire night (Steubenville), twitter about it while in action, laugh about it afterwards and then be defended by the society which blames the victim because she was drunk.

Yes they can and be virtually universally condemned for doing so.  We return, once again, to the idea that there is evil in the world and proclaiming yourself a feminist isn’t going to do a damn thing to change it.  We also have to return to the idea that the girl didn’t make very wise choices and while she is not, in any way, to blame for what happened to her, she did put herself into a situation where she was more likely to be taken advantage of.  Had she not gotten drunk, who knows what might have happened.  But feminists don’t want to hear about that.

18.  Because a woman is raped every 14 seconds in South Africa.

And feminists in America are going to solve this how?  How is labeling yourself a feminist going to stop anything that’s going on in South Africa or anywhere else?  Are you thinking that you have to be a feminist to oppose these things?  I oppose them and I’m not a feminist.  What is the point of all of these random statistics if you have no means of actually fixing the problems?

19.  Because sexism in the shape of a joke is not any less offensive or disparaging.

Jokes aren’t meant to be taken seriously, maybe some people need to develop a sense of humor.  If you’re getting offended by something a comedian says, you’re not doing levity right.  That’s another point that I think has to be made about a lot of liberals, they take offense at just about everything.  No one is allowed to say anything that makes them unhappy.  It’s a means of thought and speech control where liberals designate themselves as the sole arbiter of what language is acceptable and what language is unacceptable.  This goes beyond feminism, look at the recent Paula Deen debacle, where something this lady said *DECADES* ago is coming back to haunt her because some liberals got upset.  This is how liberals operate and we’ve seen it clearly in the modern-day atheist “movement”, they will take a person who says something they disagree with and demonize them, attack them non-stop, try to get them fired from their jobs, etc. just to show who has all the power.  This is a wholly childish and immature way to do business, yet it’s very prevalent among liberals in general and feminists in particular.

20.  Because victims of rape are too often distrusted.  54% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police.

Seriously, you feminists need to get your stories straight and get your made-up statistics consistent.  Is it 90% of rapes that are not reported to police?  Is it 50% of rapes?  Is it 54%?  Come on, which one is it and where are your statistics to back it up?  Besides, regardless of the number not reported, this makes it seem like women are not reporting assaults because they fear being distrusted.  That’s not a credible leap.  Many women do not report assaults because they are made by a close friend or family member that they don’t want to get in trouble.  Many women remain with abusive spouses willingly.  Besides, how can someone be distrusted who won’t even come forward with a report in the first place?  While a lot of this has already been handled before, these 33 reasons repeat regularly, they could have gotten away with 10 reasons, I have to mention something here.  There is a wide-ranging belief among feminists, and among lots of liberals in general, that simply making a claim is all it takes for the claim to be credible.  If you state that you feel you’ve been harassed, then you have been harassed.  However, there is a legal definition of harassment, just like there’s a legal definition of sexual assault, and if you do not meet the criteria, no matter how you feel, then you have not been harassed or assaulted.  This is primarily a problem with liberalism which focuses on how an event makes someone feel, not what it actually is.  It gives far too much emphasis on emotions and not nearly enough on facts.  I don’t care if you say you feel like you’ve been run over by a car if you haven’t actually been run over by a car.  There are enough real problems to deal with, we don’t need to make up a bunch of imaginary problems based on how someone feels.

21.  Because every 9 seconds in the U.S., a woman is assaulted or beaten.

This is just a random statistic, it really says nothing about who assaults them, why they are assaulted, etc.  The subtext here, of course, is that every 9 seconds a woman is raped by a man but that’s not the case, any more than claiming automobile accident statistics supports a claim that people are being run off the road by criminals.  Some may be but it’s purely dishonest to phrase statistics in such a way to make it seem it’s universal.  Besides, the actual statistics don’t support this claim.  According to RAINN, sexual assaults of *ANY* kind, to any gendered victim, occur about 1 every 2 minutes in the U.S.  We’ve made tremendous gains in the past couple of decades, reducing the incidence of sexual violence by more than 60% since 1993, yet you don’t hear the feminists acknowledging the massive decrease in rapes and other sexual assaults.  If they admitted that things have improved, it would cut into their shock value, especially when they spout bullshit numbers like the above.

22.  Because this page has 1768 too many likes.

And this page has 1751 too many likes.  Your point?

It’s pretty obvious that these claims are filled with specious logic, bad statistics and emotional appeals.  I have yet to see one that would make me join the feminist cause because it’s just not necessary.  There is evil in the world, no one disputes that, but you don’t have to be a feminist to oppose it, you just have to be a decent human being.

Join me again as I finish up the list and give my closing thoughts.

33 Better Reasons Not To Be a Feminist Part 1

feminist3I run into really idiotic reasons online for doing various and sundry things, but it’s usually pretty rare that those reasons don’t come from one of two groups.  First, they’re absurdly common from theists who, as we all know, come up with a load of asinine claims for why people ought to adopt their worldview.  Second, though, I see a ton of stupidity coming from the mouths of liberals, especially feminists and this is no exception.  I ran into this list of 33 reasons why people ought to be a feminist and just reading through the list made me facepalm continuously.

The Amazing Atheist did a YouTube video of his responses, but after watching it, I found most of his answers lacking and incomplete, mostly because of the format and time constraints, so I wanted to give a shot to a more complete reason why these “reasons” are just absurd.  The original list, at least in the only form I’ve seen it, is 33 pictures with captions, which you can see here.  I’m going to address the arguments themselves and, unlike TAA, I’m going to address the claimed statistics to see if they’re actually valid.  As this will take some space, I’m going to split the list into 3 sections and take it on 1/3 at a time.  If you want to watch T.J.’s video, here it is:

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlSh6wBXePM’]

1.  Because this type of violence-glorifying and misogynist commercials is not unusual and get to exist in our society without many  reactions.

Exactly what is violence-glorifying or misogynist about that particular commercial again?  Sorry, I just don’t see it.  Of course, lots of feminists will, simply because they are trained to see sexism in everything, whether it exists or not.  I’d be curious to see an objective means of determining what is “sexism” and what is not, from a feminist perspective.  I honestly don’t think they could come up with a single metric which could separate “sexist” content from “non-sexist” content.  It seems like it’s in the eye of the beholder, they can’t define it but they know it when they see it and unfortunately for the rest of us, they see it in everything.

2.  Because women don’t get to decide over their own bodies.

For the most part, they do and have for many years.  Most women in the western world have no problem whatsoever deciding to get an abortion if they want, etc.  I honestly think this is aimed at women who choose to make choices contrary to the feminist mantra though, it isn’t that women *CAN’T* decide something, it’s that many don’t do what the feminists want them to do, therefore it must be the “Patriarchy” that stops them.  It’s absurd.  However, on the flip side, men have no say whatsoever in what happens to a fetus they helped to create.  What’s worse, they are completely under the control of the woman’s whims if she decides to have a baby that the man doesn’t want, she can hold him financially hostage for 18 years and never allow him to see the child if she doesn’t want to.  She holds all the cards.  Of course, feminists don’t complain about this bit of extreme inequity, they never open their mouths when women have superior rights to men, only when it’s the other way around.  Of course, I just wish people would be responsible in the first place, if you’re not willing to commit to supporting and raising a child in the first place, stay out of each other’s pants.  Yeah, I know, that would never fly in the modern-day liberal worldview but that’s the way it ought to be.

3.  Because women are constantly sexualized and objectified, while men get credit for their skills and professions.

playgirl-coverI think there’s a whole metric that feminists don’t consider here and this will apply again to another point later.  Yes, the women on the GQ covers are posed sexually because whether feminists like it or not, sex sells.  However, whether they understand or like that fact or not, there’s something else that we have to consider.  The women on those covers chose to pose that way of their own free will.  Nobody held a gun to their heads.  Nobody forced them with threats of violence.  These are women who got into these industries knowing full well what the work was and they did it anyhow.  Feminists are essentially telling these women that they’re stupid cows, led around by the nose and forced to do things against their will… or what their will really ought to be, according to the feminists.  That’s absurd.  Worse yet, it’s funny how the feminists only talk about the covers of men’s magazines, they completely ignore the covers of magazines intended for women, which objectify and sexualize men.  It’s all “do as we say, not as we do.”

4/5.  Because this gets banned on Facebook… while this is fine.

That’s because the one image is expressly banned on Facebook and the other is not.  It has nothing to do with being female body parts, if it was male body parts, it would be deleted just as quickly.  There is no nudity allowed on Facebook whatsoever.  This is an example of an argument that I see far too often among feminists, they don’t bother to think about the substance of their argument, they just pick something that ostensibly concerns women and get upset about it.  As for the second imagine, I agree that it’s offensive and tasteless, but what feminists, and indeed most liberals just don’t understand is that there’s no right not to be offended.  Just because something bothers you doesn’t mean you get to stand there like a Donald Sutherland pod person, screaming until someone makes it go away.  If you find something that offends you, the best way to handle it is to stop looking at it.  Welcome to reality, feminists.

6.  Because 97% of all rapists never have to spend a day in jail.

Even going by their own statistics, this figure is wrong.  According to the data their own groups put out, 6% of rapists ever go to jail, putting the 97% figure into laughable territory.  The problem is, nobody ever cites their sources for making these claims.  how do they know what percentage of rapes (claims range from 50-90%) go unreported?  By definition, they’re unreported!  The only way to get this data is to survey a large number of women and hope that you get honest responses, but since most of these surveys are done by groups with a particular agenda, how they phrase their questions has a huge impact on the data they get.  This strikes me as a made up statistic that cannot be validated by actual, demonstrable evidence.

7.  Because model agencies are scouting models outside of anorexia clinics.

You’d have to blame society for that one, it’s certainly not just men who are responsible.  In fact, since most of these models are wearing clothing intended for women, it’s really the women who have unrealistic expectations for body types that are pushing this kind of thing.  If women would refuse to buy clothing worn by these undernourished cretins, advertising and modeling agencies would stop using them.  Besides, isn’t one of the main battle cries for feminism that women should be self-sufficient and not have to look the way men want them to look or act the way men want them to act?  Listen to your own feminist mantra and just don’t do it!  Of course, that would be too easy, they don’t want to free themselves from the expectations of others, they want to change the expectations of others to exactly what they want, which is stupid.

8.  Because women are being discriminated against in the workplace because they have children, or may have children in the future.

I hate to say if but that’s the reality of female biology.  Business, whether you like it or not, requires a long-term commitment from it’s workers at every level of the company.  People who are apt to take extended periods of time off, who are apt to leave early or come in late because they have to take care of their children, are a hindrance to the  company.  Is it fair?  I don’t know that fair has anything to do with it.  Someone who is sickly, who takes a lot of time off or has to leave to go to the doctor, is going to have the same problem, they probably won’t advance as far because of something they have no control over either.  Nobody said life was fair.  Certainly we ought to do our best to limit disparities, but there are some differences which are dictated by biology, not society.  A woman who works just as hard and just as long as a man should not be discriminated against.

9.  Because women still make less money for doing the same job as men.

Like it or not, as with #7 above, this is largely because women pursue different job paths than men do.  Men tend to work longer hours, take less time off and work their way up the corporate ladder than women do.  Many women take time off to have children and that’s going to affect how well they are paid.  It’s not the non-existent “patriarchy” that does this to women, it’s human biology and women’s choices.  If you compare two men, one of whom works a lot harder and longer than the other, the one that works hardest will invariably make more money, even if they have the same job.  That’s how American business culture works.

10.  Because there are parts of the world where women get punished after being sexually assaulted.

Yes there are and it’s a terrible thing, but what do you think that you’re going to do about it, being a feminist in a kooshy house, sitting behind a monitor, somewhere in the western world?  There are so many of these statements that will not be solved by slapping a feminist label on your forehead.  I see feminists complaining about things like this, and they should, I just don’t see them proposing any real-world solutions to the problems.  If the only reason to be a feminist is to whine, I don’t see how that’s helpful.

11.  Because there are actually people who think it’s not rape if the person is sleeping.

That’s reprehensible, but being a feminist isn’t going to change that.  There are bad people in the world, that’s a simple fact of life.  There are people who are going to use others for their own benefit.  There are people who are going to kill others, torture others and rape others.  It sucks, but nobody said the world was going to be a magical, happy land.  These people deserve to be prosecuted to the furthest extent of the law, just like anyone who harms others.  I don’t need to be a feminist to want justice.  Why do you?

12.  Because 1 out of every 6 American women has been a victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.

false rapeThis comes from a study performed by the Center for Policy Research and it has a lot of questionable data, much of it is pulled out of context for use in feminist literature.  For instance, I’ve seen it said that 52% of women have been physically assaulted, neglecting that the study makes it clear this refers only to women who were “assaulted” in childhood, including being spanked.  That’s not assault, that’s discipline.  When looking at legitimate assault, suffered in recent history, only 1.9% of women reported they’d been assaulted.  There are no specifics provided of the details of these assaults either, there is no differentiation between assaults by men or assaults by women, although feminists simply assert that all of the assaults were committed by man on women.  Similarly for this claim, it says that 18% of women report they’ve either been raped or someone attempted to rape them, it gives no details on who may have raped them or the conditions under which they were raped.  Since these were all anonymous reports given over the phone with no verification that anything said was true, the results are extremely subjective.  We don’t even know if the women who claimed to have been raped had ever had those cases prosecuted.  Of course, we know that up to 40% of rape cases reported to police are fabricated and there are many cases of retroactive rape claims, where a woman changes her mind after the fact and claims that she was raped when, indeed, it was wholly consensual at the time.  The Air Force did a comprehensive study of 556 rape allegations and found that when questioned, 27% of accusers recanted and 60% of cases were found to be false during independent investigations.  Of course, feminists love to claim that 1-in-4 women in college will be raped but they have never been able to validate that claim.  In fact, studies that have been done show that the number is actually closer to 1-in-1877.  Crime statistics used in these studies are publically available from Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh.  Feminists have this bizarre idea that anything that comes out of a woman’s mouth must be true because she has a vagina.  Women are no more or less honest or trustworthy than men are.  I think we ought to take all claims of abuse seriously and investigate them rigorously to determine whether they’re true or not.  A claim of rape without evidence is no more credible than a man’s claim that he slept with a particular woman without evidence.

In part 2 of this series, I’ll take on the next 11 ridiculous reasons.  Don’t miss it!

Radical Feminists are like Locusts

Locust Swarm
Oh look, it must be a feminist convention in town!

The whole feminist side of atheism keeps getting stupider and stupider.  After the debacle at the Women in Skepticism 2 conference, where Ron Lindsay, president and CEO of CFI, the guy who was putting on the conference, got up and said a couple of things at the conference that his group was paying for, that female attendees did not like, mostly because he was in possession of a penis, they came out and started demanding Lindsay be ousted from his position with the CFI.  Well, the CFI took that under advisement and came to the only rational conclusion, they said “fuck you”.

Good for you, CFI!

But that doesn’t stop Rebecca Watson and her ilk, now she’s walking away from the CFI and encouraging other feminists to do the same. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, bitch.  In fact, why don’t you just keep on walking right out of the atheist “community” too and take your radical feminist companions with you.  You have done nothing positive for the atheist “movement” whatsoever, in fact, you’ve done nothing but harm it.  For lots of people who might have initially been sympathetic toward feminist goals, you’ve turned a huge percentage of people off.  Whereas I might have been supportive of some of the goals of feminists (not radical feminists) a year or two ago, today I’m a staunch anti-feminist.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I still support equality for all across the board, I just don’t respect anyone who uses the term “feminist” anymore.  If you call yourself a feminist, you’ve immediately diminished yourself in my eyes.  “Feminist” has become a dirty word.

bug-spray
RAID! Kills the unskeptical dead.

What’s worse, I was talking to my wife over the weekend after the CFI news broke and she agreed wholeheartedly.  She’s never identified herself as a feminist and now, she has the same distaste for the term as I do and she doesn’t even care about atheism as a group.  It was then that I said that radical feminists, especially the ones in atheism, are like locusts.  They identify a food source, they swarm and consume every useful bit of food, and then move on.  That’s essentially what’s happened in the atheist “community”, but similar things, as I’ve pointed out before, have happened in other communities and it has utterly destroyed them.  Once you start allowing radical elements from outside to invade your home and impose their radical ideas, it’s the beginning of the end.  Instead of having atheists, who just so happen to be feminists, we have feminists, who just so happen to be atheists.  These are not rational and intellectual women who are applying those standards to equality, these are women, by and large, who are ranting and raving, subsumed completely under emotional rhetoric and the moment that anyone says “hey, you ought to stop and think about what it is that you believe…”, they start screaming “misogyny!”  Who else do we know that does exactly that, with different terms?  Oh yeah… THEISTS!

It’s ironic that this whole fiasco happened at a conference called “Women in Skepticism” and it turned into a shit-storm of unskeptical women.  That should be a clear sign to everyone in the skeptical community that it’s time to send these locusts flying on to their next target.  These are not people who ought to be acceptable within a group of self-defined skeptics, rationalists and critical thinkers because they do not fit into any of those categories, at least with regard to their feminism and other social beliefs.  Yes, I know we want to grow and increase our numbers, but should we do that at the cost of our core values and identity?  I don’t think so.  In fact, we might even attract the right kinds of people, the ones who are rational and skeptical and critical of all claims, if we didn’t embrace the radical crazies.

Otherwise, we’re on a collision course with disaster and failure, where the atheist “movement” really has no value, it’s just a laughing stock for people who can see the hypocrisy in the movement, that we say we’re rational with regards to religion but we prove we’re anything but with regard to everything else.

That’s not a movement I want anything to do with and I know I’m not alone.

Are These Rad-Fem Women Skeptical?

victim_card
Rad-fems are no better than theists, perhaps worse.

I try so hard not to follow any of this angsty bullshit, but sometimes, it just appears in your in-box and you have to respond.  Vjack, over at Atheist Revolution, keeps writing about it, mostly, I hope, to bring attention to the utter absurdity of the radical feminist position.  The more I see of it, the more these radical feminists look exactly like theists.  They make ridiculous claims, hold wholly emotional positions and attack anyone who dares to question the validity of their fundamentalist beliefs.

Here we go again.

I’ve yet to see anyone ever say that if it doesn’t happen to one person, it doesn’t happen at all, that’s a bald assertion without any supporting evidence, but then again, all of the claims I’ve seen where people claim to have been harassed, where people have claimed to have been abused, I’ve yet to see any supporting evidence of those things either.  In fact, judging by the majority of claims that I have seen, I would deny that any actual, demonstrable abuse has gone on, it’s just a bunch of oversensitive women and men who are freaking out over things that no rational person would ever consider abusive.

Yet the radfems are tweeting like crazy:

 Julia Larson Julia Larson@EIAtheism
@ActivistAtheist @AmandaMarcotte What I read is “We, the undersigned, deny we’ve ever been victims, therefore no one else has been either.”

@EIAtheism “It’s never happened to me so it must not be a problem” What was it we were saying about a lack of empathy? =(

The biggest problem here is one of hypocrisy.  See, one of the things that we, as atheists, often are called upon to do is to gauge claims of “experiences with God” made by theists and determine if, in fact, it is rational for a person to consider a specific set of circumstances as a direct experience with the almighty.  Is there reason to think that some event was actually caused or instigated by a supernatural entity?  Lots of theists get pissed off when atheists do this, they think that their own emotional claims are beyond reproach, that their claims are automatically valid and anyone who criticizes them must be either insensitive or evil, but that’s simply  not true.  We, as rational, critical thinkers are evaluating the claims objectively and intelligently and finding that, by and large, they do not stand up to scrutiny.

Neither do the claims of the feminists.  Just like the theists who are supremely convinced that having an emotional experience and attributing a supernatural cause to it is valid, they are confident that having an emotional experience and attributing an abusive cause to it is equally as valid, but like the theists, it doesn’t work out that way when you strip away the emotion.  “I feel abused” is not necessarily the same as “I have been abused”, any more than “I feel the presence of God” is the same as “God is real”.  One is an emotional response that may or may not have any validity in reality and it does not automatically equate to a factual statement about reality.

If they want to declare victimhood, they first have to start off with a valid definition of “victim”, which frankly, they don’t have.  They play the victim card whenever it’s politically expedient.  They stamp the label on the forehead of anyone who feels emotionally uncomfortable about a situation.  That doesn’t make you a victim, it makes you overly-emotional.

I think we need to look at victimhood for a moment here.  There are a lot of dictionary definitions, but I think two actually apply here, for different reasons.  Let’s look at the one that I’m sure they would more closely identify with first:

Victim:  (1): one that is injured, destroyed, or sacrificed under any of various conditions <a victim of cancer> <a victim of the auto crash> <a murder victim> (2): one that is subjected to oppression, hardship, or mistreatment <a frequent victim of political attacks>

However, I think there’s a second definition that is even more applicable here, both to radical feminists and to theists.

Victim:  one that is tricked or duped <a con man’s victim>

Both groups have been bullshitted into believing something that is clearly and absurdly false.  Both groups buy into a proposition that is emotional and not intellectual in nature, one that demands that you not think about it too hard and that you attack anyone who rejects the idea because they are clearly evil.  Unlike the first definition, there are no demonstrable attacks going on.  There is no victimhood in that sense.  No one is demonstrably injured, destroyed or sacrificed, there have been no arrests made due to attacks within the atheist community and nobody has been able to produce evidence of any oppression, hardship or mistreatment that they didn’t bring upon themselves.  If this absurd “rape culture” was going on, you’d think they’d be able to produce a single criminal conviction for rape that stemmed from an actual sexual assault taking place at an atheist convention.  They cannot.  That really seems to be the problem here.  Just being a woman is not detrimental whatsoever in the atheist community, it’s being a fucking bitch that’s the issue.  It’s having unrealistic expectations and desires that are at fault.  Worse yet, it’s the mind-numbingly stupid “my way or the highway” thinking that these rad-fems share that get them into so much trouble.  These tweets are just more evidence of it.  “You disagree with us and you’re the enemy!”

I suspect this will never change because we have a massive problem in the atheist community with irrational people.  There are those who could be perfectly intellectual with regard to religion, but once you get into “social justice” they’re as far out there as Jenny McCarthy is with vaccinations and like McCarthy, they’re completely clueless as to how clueless they actually are.

These people are not victims, they are not abused, they are not demonstrably injured, oppressed or mistreated.  They have absurd ideas about how the world works and are so inculcated in first world sensitivities that they can’t see the real world from where they’re sitting.  The second anyone points this out, that they have not demonstrated their victimhood, that they have not drawn a causal link from the failure of their fallacious expectations to misogyny, they yell and scream and call names and cry about how unfair the world is because their bizarre liberal utopia isn’t magically surrounding us all.

How is this any different than the religious again?

Freedom of Speech is not Freedom from Consequences

consequencesI see this all the time, I’m sure you do too.  A lot of people seem to think that their right to free speech somehow overrides anyone’s ability to criticize what they have to say or any possible consequences for the speech they engage in.  Sorry folks, it just isn’t true.

This was once again brought home to me when I received a call from a friend who is a securities broker.  He called to vent over an employee he had to terminate.  Apparently, it was a guy in his early 20s who had recently been “saved”.  Now I’m sure that anyone who has been around one of the newly-indoctrinated can recognize the sort, they’re “on fire for Jesus” and they want to tell anyone and everyone that will listen how great it makes them feel.  Unfortunately, this guy was doing it at work.  He was littering the office with tracts and bothering people on their breaks, trying to pass on the “Good News”.  Now my friend, who runs the office, had to sit this guy down a couple of times and tell him to lighten up because people were complaining that he was harassing them, but when it became clear that he wasn’t limiting his unwanted evangelism to his co-workers, but he was doing it to clients as well,  that was the last  straw and my friend put him through the termination process.  The part he wanted to vent about though is the fact that the religious zealot seemed to think that his guaranteed and “God-given” right to free speech meant that he got to say whatever was on his mind to whoever he could find and could not be abridged, my friend was clearly engaging in religious harassment and he’d sue!

Sure pal, go ahead.  Knock yourself out.

While this is clearly a case of someone who misunderstands the concept of free speech, it’s just not that uncommon, I’m sure most of us have had the experience of disagreeing with a theist and they come back with “you can’t tell me I’m wrong, you’re stifling my freedom!”  No, sorry, pointing out how flawed your arguments are is not limiting your ability to speak, it’s just showing that your speech is invalid.

This is even commonplace in the atheist “community” where people seem to think that they deserve to be given a voice wherever they choose to stop and unload their drivel.  While I’m not a fan of censorship, I am a fan of being reasonable and if you own a website or moderate a forum, you get to decide who can say what there.  I’ve deleted quite a few insulting, demeaning comments here that clearly violate my comment policy and I’ve had people send me nasty e-mail accusing me of denying them their free speech.  Fuck them.  See, nobody is required to provide you a venue for your speech.  They can tell you, assuming they control or own the area, that you are not free to speak.  That’s not taking away your freedom of speech, it’s just requiring you to take it elsewhere.  In the above example, my friend was not telling his former employee that he couldn’t talk about God until he was blue in the face, he was saying that he could not do it at work and certainly, he could not do it to his clients.  Outside of work, outside of the building, he’s free to say whatever he wants to whoever he wants and he’ll only be held accountable if he makes the company look bad.

Actions, any actions, whether you like it or not, come with potential consequences.  A wise person understands those consequences and considers them before taking actions that may incur negative results.  A fool, and let’s be honest, the people we’re talking about fall mostly into that category, never thinks ahead and spends their lives behind the 8-ball.

So Shaun, even though you  don’t read my blog, keep up the good work, you made the right decision and your ex-employee deserves what he got.  Hopefully the next guy you hire will know what being a professional is all about and will understand boundaries.  Far too many theists seem to completely misunderstand that concept.

Running Away With $40 Million

Ervin-Mears-Jr.-and-Mawsumensah-Mears-who-are-suing-for-40-million-Philadelphia-Inquirer
Not running on the track team, running instead to a lawyer.

I really, really hate the entitlement culture that we’ve developed in this country.  Nobody owes you a damn thing, but everyone has their hand out like they somehow deserve compensation for bothering to roll out of bed in the morning and the second someone suggests otherwise, their legal brigade runs in to sue the rational side out of existence.  Here’s another case.

When Mawusimensah Mears got thrown off the track team for missing practices, his father didn’t get upset at him, his father didn’t try to teach him the right way to do things, his father, Ervin Mears Jr. decided to sue the school.  Why?  Because he asserts that extracurricular activities are not a privilege as most people understand them to be, but a right.  Apparently, Mawusimensah not having the “right” to run on the track team is worth $40 million dollars.

Yeah, right.  About the only one who should be sued for $40 million is the asshole father for daring to give his son such a stupid name.

Mears was thrown off the team for unexcused absences.  His father claims that there was a death in the family and he suffered a leg injury, but surely he bothered to explain these things and provide documentation to the Sterling Regional High varsity track team, right?  Otherwise, they were legitimately unexcused absences and his son deserved to be thrown off the team.

Ervin really comes off sounding like an asshole though.  He says “That’s my son. I better interfere. I better make sure he gets every opportunity.”  Too bad  you aren’t teaching him to be personally responsible for his actions.  Of course, Mears has unrealistic expectations, he’s demanding that his son, who is a freshman, ought to be run in Varsity events, displacing seniors on the squad.  Now I don’t know how high schools run today, but when I was in high school, freshmen weren’t even eligible for Varsity teams, you had to be a junior or senior to qualify.

I hope the judge throws this case out and further slaps the father with a heavy penalty for filing a ridiculous lawsuit.  It’s crap like this that has clogged up the legal system to such an absurd degree that many cases are reaching the statute of limitations before they can make it before a judge.

Here’s a news flash for you, Ervin Mears, your kid doesn’t deserve jack shit except what he can earn.  Don’ t like that?  Shove it straight up your entitlement-fantasy ass.

 

Atheism is Not Illogical Part 3

posts are illogicalThis is my third foray into the crazy repetitious world of the Site Philosopher over on Philosophy Out of the Box and seriously, he’s not getting any better.  Unfortunately, I think this is a clear case of not having a clue what one is talking about and running with it blindly down the field.  That’s not to say he’s stupid by  any means, but he’s taken a concept that is wrong on it’s very face and he’s twisted it around into every conceivable configuration, except the correct one, to continue his crusade to prove that he was right all along.

Now I don’t want to spend any time proving he’s still wrong, I’ve done that twice already, but this is the third post he’s done on essentially the same thing, but in all that time that he’s been saying the same thing, he’s never realized that his initial, and thus secondary and now tertiary posts are based upon a flawed premise.

It strikes me that this, like most things the religious take on faith, is a silly idea that they never bother to question.  It’s likely something that he was taught, either by his parents or by his preacher or by some respected apologist and therefore, it’s not open to correction.  I could go run over to his blog and post how he’s wrong, but let’s be honest, no matter how nicely I do it, no matter how well supported my statements are, he won’t care because this is yet another case of feelings and not fact.  Here, he’s just re-spun his faith-based proposition three different ways, yet in none of his iterations has he actually demonstrated that his claim is in any way true.  It took me mere seconds to blow it out of the water and explain what atheism actually is, but for someone living in a faith bubble, where they cannot imagine anyone not having faith in something, I can understand why he’d make that mistake, but still have to shake my head that he keeps making it over and over.

I think I’ll just leave this for now, I repeat myself enough without having to do so over the repetitious nature of a theist who really doesn’t know what they’re talking about and isn’t interested in finding out.  I must depart for more fertile and rational soil and leave the clueless where they lie.

 

Atheism Plus Childish Behavior

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image3669440Everyone knows how much I hate to talk about this subject, but it’s just gotten to the point where I have to make a post, then I can put it back into the little box of human stupidity where it resides.  I stopped following the drama in the atheist “community” a while back, especially the obnoxious nonsense that comes along with Atheism+/FreeThoughtBlogs/SkepChick.  I just don’t care and, if not for the fact that I run across it from time to time on other blogs I read or Twitter feeds I follow, I’d likely know nothing about any of this and that would suit me just fine.

Unfortunately, when it does get shoved into my face, I have to say something, especially when it’s abject stupidity like it has been recently.  Without going into too much detail, mostly because I don’t want to be bothered to go look it up myself, Justin Vacula wrote some supposedly humorous text on a picture of Ophelia Benson and posted it on Facebook.  That kind of thing happens all the time and while it’s often childish, it’s not particularly harmful.  Then Ophelia came back, both barrels blazing, demanding that Justin not only not do it again, but demanding that Justin not tag photos on his Facebook page so she won’t get announcements that a picture of her was posted.  And so, the whole childish parade exploded into a Facebook war with both sides launching insults at each other.

In other words, it was completely and totally immature, as virtually everything regarding Atheism+ or its associated blogs is.  The problem is, it’s not just them, it’s everyone on every side of this massive clusterfuck.  They’re all childish!  Reap Paden was childish to change the signs the FtB idiots were holding, assuming he’s the one that did it in the first place, Justin was childish to post it to his Facebook and Ophelia was childish to over-react like she did.  This is yet another hyper-emotional idiot roundhouse, people lobbing grenades at each other because they think it’s funny and it’s really just not.  The more I see any of this behavior, the less impressed with it I become.  It’s assholes to the left of me and assholes to the right.  You have shitheads on the Atheism+ side and just as many of them in the Slymepit.  Is it any wonder why I and most rational atheists want nothing to do with either side?

All both sides are doing is harming the atheist “cause”, if such a word has any meaning.  They cause atheism to be a laughing stock.  Immaturity isn’t something to be proud of, yet these idiots all wear it like a fucking badge of honor.  These are morons who are truly proud of being morons, who would fit in just fine on 4chan/b/, they are not people I would be proud to know, nor are they people I would have any respect for whatsoever.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in the atheist “community” that have totally lost any speck of respect I might have ever granted them.  I suspect they don’t care, but they are the reason that I, and so many atheists have really stopped giving a damn about having a non-religious community.  What we have right now is largely filled with assholes and I don’t hang out with or support assholes.

Is Atheism Illogical? Part 2

Religion IllogicalA while back, I wrote a review of an article called “Atheism is Illogical“, written on a theist philosophy site called Philosophy Out of the Box.  I pointed out how absurd many of the ideas contained within the article were and, even though I had gotten the idea from a fellow atheist blog, the Athefist, I said I was going to keep an eye on future developments.

There has been a second, and in fact, a third article written and so, as before, I will delve into the ideas of this theist philosopher and hope he fares better than he did the last time.  Watch for my take on his third installment, probably next week.

He starts off arguing that religious fundamentalists tend to ignore uncomfortable facts when he points them out in their holy books, but that’s not been my experience.  In fact, it’s the fundamentalists who tend to do their best to adopt all of the inherent craziness that you find in religious books, that’s why you get loons handling snakes and drinking poisons and the like.  It’s the liberal theists who pick and choose only the parts of religious books that they like and ignore the rest.  Those are the people he should be complaining about, the hypocrites who only believe what they want to believe.  And of course, he says he’s proven that atheism and theism are both religious positions but I beg to differ, I blew that position entirely out of the water in my last evaluation and simply stating something doesn’t make a belief so.

He starts arguing that words have meanings, something that anyone who has read this blog for any length of time will recognize, yet it seems that he has no clue what the words he’s trying to use mean.  We already know he’s hopelessly lost with regard to “atheism”, in fact he entirely ignores the OED which defines atheism as “One who denies or disbelieves the existence of a God”.  He gets to “denies” and calls it a day, proving that either he’s incapable of reading and understanding a dictionary, or he’s just dishonest.  I lean toward the latter.

I say that  because he does, in fact, make a vague attempt to handle the “disbelieves” part of the definition by quoting another “page” of the OED which defines “disbelief” as “to not believe or credit; to refuse credence to”.  Okay, that’s certainly not what he’s asserting, he’s saying that disbelief means that atheists are holding an active belief in the non-existence of something, which is certainly not the case.

In my last article, I used the example of a froozle and I think it can be useful once again.  See, according to Site Philsopher, there are only two possibilities.  You either have a strong positive belief that the greater red-breasted froozle exists or you have a strong positive belief that the greater red-breasted froozle does not exist.  There are no other possible conclusions you can come to, yet I trust anyone reading this will understand just how foolish such a position actually is.  There are plenty of other options available to a true seeker.  You can simply withhold judgement based on a serious lack of evidence supporting the claim, that’s what most atheists do.  No matter how much some of these pinheads wish it were the case, that’s exactly what an atheist is, it’s someone who rejects the claims made by theists for lack of evidence or even coherent claims.  Theists are unable to clearly define what their gods are in any way that makes rational sense, they are not able to provide a means by which an unbeliever can verify and validate the factual existence of the deity and they certainly have not ponied up a single shred of evidence that would differentiate the existence of a god from the difference of a froozle.

I really don’t see how this guy’s argument is going to get any better when he’s failed so utterly in his most basic of assertions.  What he’s calling philosophy is really just embarrassing.  Unfortunately, most apologists never rise above the simplistic level that we’re seeing here and that’s why they largely get laughed at by anyone with a clue.  What we’re really seeing is a prime example of why theism is illogical and why theists have so much to learn.

Addicted to God

Addicted to God
Gonna have to face it, you’re addicted to God!

A couple of months ago, I wrote the story of an acquaintance who was battling alcoholism.  I hadn’t heard from him since he asked me about AA and some non-religious programs, but I finally got an e-mail from him over the weekend with a transcript of an exchange he had with a religious alcoholic that was trying to get him into a religious program.

Now I immediately noted in the first e-mail exchange that said theist was using some very religious-style rhetoric regarding the AA 12-step program.  From what I understand, although I’m not exactly clear on all of it, this theist knows my friend’s sponsor and when he stopped showing up to AA meetings, having moved on to a non-religious program, the theist got concerned and asked for contact information, which the sponsor provided.  Personally, I’d be rather pissed off if someone I knew, and presumably not all that well, was giving out my personal information to every Tom, Dick and Harry that came along asking for it.  Regardless, I made a mental note to tell him what I was seeing, but it wasn’t long before it wasn’t necessary, he had identified it himself.

He concluded in this e-mail exchange that this theist 12-stepper was still an addict, but instead of being addicted to alcohol or drugs, he was addicted to God.  He spoke about how much love he felt toward the 12-step program and how it had saved his life and made him closer to God.  Now, he recognized that he was unable to do anything without the help of his imaginary friend in the sky, he spent his days on his knees instead of trying to make it alone and, of course, he was now an evangelist, not only for the program, but for Christianity.  He was personally hurt that my friend had left the program and he got even more hurt that my friend had moved to a secular program where God wasn’t the most important thing in his life.  He begged my friend to come back to the fold and embrace Christianity as his only chance of ending his sinful past.  God was the only way!

Honestly, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard that this kind of thing happens in 12-step programs, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it in print first hand.  I’d say it’s scary, but it really isn’t.  It’s more pathetic than anything else.  You have an individual here who is still giving in to his addictive personality, he’s just traded an unacceptable addiction for one that’s largely embraced in western society.  I looked up some of the symptoms of addiction and I could see most of them in this person’s e-mail.  He was defensive, he blamed his alcoholism on “faltering in his walk with the Lord”, there’s clear guilt and shame present in his words, he talks about how awful he feels that God had to punish him with alcoholism to get him to turn his life around.

My friend really wanted to know if he should continue to talk to this guy, seeing how I have a lot more experience debating crazies.  My advice was, unless you enjoy being frustrated, stop responding, he’s never going to change the theist’s mind and the theist isn’t going to change his.  Luckily, he seems to be doing well, has been totally clean, no alcohol, no tobacco and nothing else, for more than 30 days.  Better yet, he’s not trading one addiction for another.  If anything, he’s  becoming a stronger skeptic and non-theist than he was before.  Not only is he becoming healthier and happier, he’s getting smarter!  You can’t beat those results!

Thank God For Rape!

delhi-rape-protests-295The father of a 5-year old girl who went missing in New Delhi, India, has been told by police to “thank god that your daughter is alive”.  They also offered him a Rs. 2,000 bribe to keep his mouth shut about the incident.  The little girl was abducted on April 14 and held hostage in the apartment of a neighbor without food or water for 3 days where she was reportedly raped repeatedly.  According to the father, “The police told us that we should not highlight the issue in the media and gave us Rs.2,000 as kharcha-pani (for expenses and refreshment).”  The girl has been hospitalized and has required extensive treatment for infection and surgery for physical damage she received in the rapes.  Reportedly, she was abused with many foreign objects, including candles and bottles, pieces of which had to be removed from her genitals.  Doctors expect her to survive, although they warn that her injuries are still grave.

The two officers who told the father to take his daughter home and pray for her recovery have been suspended for “misbehaving”.  Police initially arrested a man who lived on the first floor of the same apartment building in which the child resided, but now, have arrested a second suspect, described as an accomplice.  The first suspect, Manoj Kumar, told police that there was another man involved

However, this just isn’t uncommon in many parts of India.  Back in December, a 23-year-old medical student was fatally gang-raped on a moving bus, sparking widespread protests across India.  Police were quick to react when this newest swell of public outrage caused a huge number of people to come out in protest, but they simply haven’t reacted well.  There is a case of a police officer who hit a female protester outside the hospital where the girl is being treated.  That officer has been suspended.  “The government makes laws just for the sake of making them, with no intention to stop crimes. None of the laws are implemented, and we see rapes increasing by the day,” said a man protesting outside the police headquarters.  Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the attack “shameful” and said “The gruesome assault on a little girl a few days back reminds us once again of the need to work collectively to root out this sort of depravity from our society.”

The problem is, this is an epidemic in India.  Rapes, especially rapes targeting children, are rampant.  In a recent report, the Asian Center For Human Rights cited statistics that it said showed 48,338 child rape cases reported in India between 2001 and 2011. The report said the number of cases had risen from 2,113 cases in 2001 to 7,112 in 2011.  This is clearly a growing problem.  It’s hard to find a period of time where rapes in India are not widespread.  There’s the recent case of 3 girls that were raped, murdered and dumped into a well and the case of 5 men who gang-raped a Swiss tourist.

While it’s unclear what the central problem here is, Indian men are simply taught from childhood not to respect women.  Some of it us religious.  Some of it is cultural.  All of it needs to change.  Radical feminists talk about a rape culture.  This is a rape culture.  It’s ingrained in the society.  Stop whining about the first world and go point your fingers at the people who actually do engage in the things that you criticize.  Do you want to fight the problems that actually exist, or just the imaginary problems that only exist in your mind and only in your little corner of the planet?  This is an issue, this is an issue that needs to be fixed and I’m glad that the Indian government is at least acknowledging that they have a problem.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure how much they can really do to change it, other than to punish the guilty, which doesn’t help the victims.  You have to change the culture and the fact that there are so many backwoods, highly-religious communities where this attitude has been a fact of life for generations isn’t going to be changed easily.

Atheist Community… Take a Letter…

Atheist CommunityRecently, a large number of atheist groups got together and released an open letter to the online secular community, in general, trying to address the continuing debacle caused, in general, by the radical feminists, Atheism+ and other far left liberal groups who think they get to take over atheism to push their agendas.  I’ve spoken about this many times in the past and I try to avoid repeating myself, but when something like this happens, I feel that I have to.

The very idea that there is an actual community of atheists is absurd.  It’s hard to have a connected group of people that share nothing positive in common.  Atheism is a non-belief, it is something that none of us do.  There is nothing to atheism, atheism is inherently not a thing.  It’s like the classic example of non-stamp-collecting.  Not collecting stamps is not a thing either.  That characteristic doesn’t tell you anything positive about the individuals who share it.  The second you start talking about some positive characteristic, you’re no longer talking about atheism or non-stamp-collecting, you’re talking about something else.

The problem is, lots of atheists out there want to come together under the banner of atheism, yet insist that it has positive characteristics.  That is simply false.  If  you want to be concerned with social justice or feminism or the environment or left-wing politics, that’s fine, just stop pretending that it’s atheism!  All  you’re doing is confusing the language and making other people who may not share your views look bad.

I’m fine with social justice, I support many, but not all, of  the issues that are being bandied about, but social justice is not atheism.  It fits better under the secular humanism label.  We already have a term for what they’re trying to do, they simply don’t want to use it  because then they won’t be in charge.  For these people, control and power are all-important.

There are several points that are made in the letter and those are the things I want to directly address.

Moderate blogs and forums.
Any organization or individual engaged in blogging or administering a forum has an obligation to moderate comments. Slurs, threats, and so forth beget more of the same. Keeping our online spaces free of these elements creates a civil climate that makes it much easier for people to engage issues productively.

So, in other words, censor.  Let’s be honest, that’s really what they’re talking about.  Yes, I do moderate this blog but I only do so for spam.  I virtually never do for content, and then, only for those that blatantly violate my comment policy.  I have never and will never deleted a comment because I thought it might make someone sad.  Further, I think that heavily moderation sets a very bad precedent.  After all, look at what happened over at the Atheism+ forums.  In their mad search for a “safe zone”, away from the mean words and pesky facts of those that don’t follow their beliefs, they turned the place, not into a safe zone, but into an echo chamber.  You get to hear one and only one point of view there because anyone with a different opinion, especially an opinion that goes against the party line, gets deleted with extreme prejudice.  This, I think, gives the impression to forum participants and true believers that they’ve somehow won the debate because they never get to see dissenting views, something that is not remotely true.  There’s a difference between civil debate and no debate at all and for so many groups with delicate constitutions, their definition of “civil” is “nothing even remotely objectionable is allowed”.  That is not a good idea.

Go offline before going online: pick up the phone. 
When you hear that an organization or member of our community is doing something that you think is wrong or bad for the community, call and talk with them, find out what they are actually doing and why they are doing it. If you don’t have a phone number, send a private email and arrange a time to talk. So much of the time there’s more to the story, and talking to another person on the other side of the issue can help us more fully understand the situation. Plus, a phone call makes it easier for people who are making mistakes to change course, because they aren’t on the defensive as they would be after being called out publicly.

That’s largely not possible online because people’s direct contact information is virtually never made available publically.  Yes, I invite people to address others directly, via e-mail, via Skype, via Twitter, etc. as it tends to be more effective than doing things publically, but I’ll also be honest, if someone I didn’t know asked me for my phone number, I’d tell them no.  I might agree to get on Skype with them, only because it’s easy with Skype to block people, but you can’t do that easily with a regular telephone number.  I’ve made the mistake in the past of giving my number to someone I shouldn’t have and had to endure weeks of them calling and screaming over the phone at all hours of the day and night.  For an example, listen to any of the Atheist Experience shows when Matt from Oslo called.  And for the record, no, the phone company will do nothing about it.  It’s not an altogether horrible idea, just an unrealistic one.

But the more that I think about it, the Atheism+ side has a tendency, especially on Twitter, to block anyone who disagrees with them, therefore it’s a bit difficult to think that picking up the phone is an option at all.  As I’ve said before, they don’t want to talk about the issues, they don’t want to have to defend their views, they just want everyone to accept them as unwaveringly true and anyone who won’t do so must be a misogynist.

Listen more.
We miss the nuances and differences within “the other side” once an issue becomes polarized, while continuing to see our side as filled with nuance and distinctions. There is a tendency to stop listening and treat everyone associated with an opposing position as a monolithic group. People can be painted with views that aren’t their own just because they may disagree with some aspects of your own position. We should listen more so we can see distinctions among those with opposing views and start to move toward a more accurate understanding of the issues rather than being deadlocked into two entrenched camps.

That’s all well and good, but these issues start out polarized and only go downhill from there.  Mostly, these are problems with people who are entirely unable to compartmentalize their lives, they interject their pet bugaboos into every aspect of their day and can’t understand why others take exception.  Since I just got back from Wondercon, I’ll use a geeky example.  Suppose there was a person out there, and I assure you that there are plenty of them, who was so into Star Trek that they couldn’t talk about anything without including Star Trek in the discussion.  They couldn’t talk about politics without bringing up the prime directive, they couldn’t discuss philosophy without pondering what Spock would do, etc.  Most people, even those who like Star Trek, would find such a person to be obnoxious.  That’s the same thing that happens with a lot of people in the atheist “community” today.  They are so fixated on feminism or social justice or liberal causes that they cannot discuss any subject, even if it has nothing to do with their fixation, without bringing up that topic.  We have a word for people like that:  fanatics.  I’m sure we’re all run into the religious that do the exact same thing, who can’t open their mouths without a bunch of religious drivel tumbling out.  I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have political or social views or that they shouldn’t talk about them in the appropriate time and place, I’m saying that the appropriate time is not all the time and the appropriate place is not everyplace.  I find the above statement funny because it says we shouldn’t pretend people are a monolithic group, when it’s the radical feminists and the social justice advocates who are insisting exactly that, that all atheists must act as a monolithic group on their particular issue.

Dial down the drama.It’s tempting to overuse inflammatory and derogatory rhetoric. It gets attention. We should be cautious about using this tactic within our community because of the long-term damage it does to relationships and morale. When critiquing people within our community, everyone should remember that our goal is to persuade our allies to see our perspective and modify their opinions. Insults don’t change opinions; they harden them.

This is really the only point that ought to be made, although I’d put it a different way.  Shut the hell up.  See, I think these atheist groups understand the problem, I think they recognize who the troublemakers are, but they’re afraid to just open their mouths and be honest about it.  They’re trying not to drive away potential donations.  I, however, have no such restrictions, I have no money to drive away, therefore I can speak my mind.  This is not an issue of two groups of rational scientists utilizing the scientific method to come to a valid, scientific conclusion.  This is a group of hyper-emotional individuals with an extremely biased position which they cannot bring themselves to doubt no matter what is said by the other side.  Let’s not forget that at least some people on that side have a vested interest in keeping the level of drama up, they make money from it.  The more hits they get, the more page-views they can attract, the more ad revenue they make.  They try to deny it, but come on, it’s painfully obvious by the way they act, the second the furor dies down, the level of inanity goes up to bring the crowds back to their door.  Dialing down the drama only works so long as the drama benefits neither side, which isn’t the case here.

Be more charitable.
We should remember that the purpose of argument within our community is to come to shared and correct conclusions that move us forward, not to score points against the opposing side. To that end, we should apply the principle of charity, which tells us to aim our argument against the best interpretation of the opposing arguments rather than picking off weaker versions. By applying the principle of charity we will elevate the discussion so we’re actually talking about our real differences, not just engaging in a pointless exchange.

No, the purpose of any argument is to come to the truth.  I don’t know where people get the idea that argument and discussion mean the same thing.  They do not.  Don’t fool yourself, this is not a bunch of people sitting around a table discussing their favorite coffee, this is more like scientific peer-review, where only the best ideas survive and nothing is sacred.  There is a best-supported position here and the job of everyone involved is not only to discover which it is, but to reject lesser-supported positions as inferior.  That’s not charity.  You don’t have scientists looking at the case brought by creationists, if creationists ever bothered to actually bring a case, and say “awww, we’ll be nice to you and give you a pass because we don’t want to hurt your feelings.”  No, it is the job of science to go for the jugular and ferret out the actual truth from the pseudo-scientific nonsense and that is exactly what rational, critical atheists need to do here with regard to the claims of Atheism+ and other similar groups.  But the problem is, the views of these groups is not rational in nature, it’s not based on evidence, reason and critical evaluation.  It’s based on emotion.  Therefore, any attack on their views, any questioning of their beliefs, is going to trigger an emotional response, just like it does with theism.  If you doubt the claims of a Christian, more often than not, they are going to lash out at you emotionally, their view of the world and of themselves is wrapped up in their religious beliefs and you cannot dismiss one without inherently making them feel like you’re dismissing the other.  We have to recognize the problem and that’s something I don’t think that American Atheists and other groups have done.

Trust but verify.Before we believe and repost something we see, we should ask ourselves about the evidence provided and the context. It’s easy for multiple people saying the same thing to look like a lot of evidence, but if their statements are all based on the same original source, they do not constitute independent verification. We should look for the original data and corroboration from independent sources before believing and spreading claims.

Wow, the very idea of being skeptical and rational in the atheist “community”?  Nah, it would never work.  We have to remember that, as I’ve said before, these are people who are not operating skeptically, they are operating emotionally.  The only evidence they care about is that it feels good.  I’m sorry, but feeling good is not a measure of fact, it never has been and never will be.  The people who are wildly requoting and retweeting anything that comes along that they agree with aren’t concerned whether it’s true or not, any more than theists online who do the same thing care if what they’re repeating is factually true.  They believe it, it gives them an emotional boost to think it’s so, therefore they kick it down the line.

Help others along.
We should remember that we weren’t born knowing the things we know now. To get to the reasoned conclusions that we’ve reached, we learned by reading, thinking, and talking with others. When we encounter someone espousing a view we think is based on lack of knowledge or experience, we should remember that we have all held ill-informed views. We should cultivate patience and try to educate instead of condemn.

I find this one both a bit absurd and a bit painfully obvious.  Yes, we should absolutely help anyone who wants our help, we should definitely extend a helping hand to anyone who is willing to take it, but that just  doesn’t seem to be the case here.  It’s not possible to educate people who think they already know it all.  Yes, we have all held ill-informed views, but we ended up discovering that fact only because we were willing to examine our own heartfelt beliefs and reject them if they proved to be indefensible.  That doesn’t seem to be the case here.  You have one group who are completely and totally enamored with their beliefs and nothing anyone says will change that.

There’s something I’ve long recognized and it’s become even more clear to me on this issue.  There are a lot of similarities between the social justice groups like Atheism+ and the religious.  Both want to control the language.  In the gay marriage debate, the religious want to take ownership of the word “marriage” and define what it means.  In these social justice groups, they want to do the same and claim control over the word “atheism”.  Only those people who follow “accepted” political beliefs can call themselves atheists, otherwise they have to crawl back into the sewers, to paraphrase Richard Carrier.  It also strikes me that a lot of lefty-causes do the same thing.  The liberal black power movement wants to claim control over the term “African-American” as a code word for being black and deny it to people who are non-black, but  are both African and American.  It’s really absurd.

Of course, once I started writing this post, I knew it was something I had to get on the podcast and so this is one of the few issues that I’m tackling both in print and via voice, I typically try not to cross-platform my views, but I think the two are different enough to warrant a different handling in each format.  I’ll try not to let it happen too frequently.

What is Accomodationism?

2010-04-20I’ve used the term many, many times on this blog, but was reminded by a post over on Russell Blackfire’s Hellfire Club blog that I had never actually defined it or identified why I opposed it, especially given that I don’t really agree with the definition or use given there.  Russell and many other atheist bloggers tend to define it as anyone who either believes that science and religion are compatible, or who simply disagree that we ought not be arguing about their incompatibility in public.

Personally, I have no problem with people who think that science and religion are compatible, so long as they hold them both to the same standards and can produce evidence to support their claims.  Clearly they cannot and their arguments fall apart on their own wholly-lacking merits, but I have no problem whatsoever if they make an honest attempt.  I’ve got no problem with, for example, Steven Jay Gould’s “Non-Overlapping Magisteria” or with people like Michael Ruse and Kenneth Miller, who think science and religion can be compatible if you squint at them just right.  As I said, so long as they use the same rules for both and can come up with an evidence-based solution, I’d be happy to consider it, I’m not fundamentally opposed to them doing “research”, so long as they don’t claim they have “facts” without demonstrating them rationally.

It is more to the second part that I use the term “accomodationist”.  To me, an accomodationist is someone who thinks that being openly critical of a position, and this can go beyond just science and religion, is harmful to the people being criticized and therefore, we ought to all have a group hug and sing kumbayah and pretend that, at least publically, we have no differences.  In the political realm, this would be very similar in some respects to the nonsensical “political correctness” movement, where no one dares utter a word that might offend anyone, anywhere, for any reason.  I think this is a much larger issue than just those believers who want their part of the scientific pie, it’s a firmly political position that even some atheists hold, that criticizing theists for any reason, no matter how wrong even the accomodationist themselves might think the theists are, should never be acceptable under any circumstances.

I guess one way to look at it from the accomodationist perspective is as a vague form of NOMA, but in this case, a non-overlapping worldview.  Science should be concerned with science, it should never talk about non-science or pseudo science or the anti-science hucksters.  Addressing those issues might somehow offend people who have an emotional attachment to their beliefs.  Atheism should be concerned with atheism, it should never talk about religion or religious topics, although I have no idea how an atheist would have much to talk about without addressing religion in some way.  But where do you stop with this concept?  Should doctors only speak about medicine and entirely ignore the non-medical quackery that abounds in society?  Should it pretend anti-vaccers  don’t exist, after all, they might have an emotional attachment to their anti-medical beliefs and we don’t dare offend their sensitive feelings!

I wholly reject the idea that nobody should ever be offended, or even that not offending someone by speaking the truth ought even be a remote consideration.  There simply is no right not to be offended and if you do get offended by something you hear, it’s your own problem.  I honestly think that people being offended these days is far more of a problem than any of the things people say that might be offensive.  People have delicate constitutions.  They want to live in a protective plastic bubble where they are never challenged, where their beliefs are never criticized and their views are always right, but that’s not the world we live in.  It’s not a world that is conducive to advancement.  If you can never be challenged, how can you ever find out if you’re wrong?  If everyone has to mindlessly agree with anything you say to protect your precious little feelings, how do you think you can improve?  What’s the point?  There seems to be none.  Accomodationism doesn’t cater to strength, it’s an excuse for maintaining weakness.

And that’s a place where I disagree with Russell Blackford.  While I don’t think that outright nastiness for the sake of nastiness is called for, calling a spade a spade, recognizing stupidity when it rears it’s ugly head and calling it what it is, as far as I’m concerned, is perfectly fine.  So many of these crazy theists have gotten used to people treading lightly around their absurd beliefs, I think it’s about damn time people stopped patting them on the head and pretending their stupidity is fine and dandy, they need a good whack in the back of the head with a stick and a loud “stop believing bullshit!”

Not only do I wholly reject the entire concept of religion, I reject the idea that we should be tolerant of such things.  The very idea that we should be nice to theists and maybe they’ll deign to listen to us is ridiculous.  They’re not going to pay attention under any circumstances and if we’re wimps, if we’re too afraid and politically correct to stand up and point out religion for the bullshit that it is, then nobody, theist or not, will hear us.  We need to be evangelizers of fact, not scared little children, afraid to raise our voices.  Accomodationism is a wholesale failure, it tries to get people who disagree to simply keep their mouths shut.  You don’t see theists doing that, do you?  Why, then, should atheists?  We’re not putting ourselves into a better position by keeping quiet, in fact, ever since the “new atheism” movement began, religion has started falling apart at an even faster rate.  Being loud and honest is working and I’m personally going with any tactic that hastens the demise of religious belief.

Bird Fanatics Fear Success

cats-birds
Obviously Photoshopped, cats and birds cannot get along.

Yes, this is yet another rant about the stupid, hyper-emotional bird fanatics and the fact that they cannot handle the real world.  It’s also once again the rush to vilify anyone who seems to do better than they do.  So this morning, I wake up and there’s a new thread asking how people’s cats and birds get along.  Immediately, there are tons of people who plainly are cat haters, who say that cats can never be trusted, every cat on the planet will kill your birds if you give them half a chance, etc.  It was really kind of stupid if you ask me.  So I responded and said my cats have no interest in my birds, they’ve been raised around birds from birth and don’t consider birds prey.  In fact, I said they’ve no interest in attacking anything, they’ve been around all matter of rodents, from mice to rats, hamsters to chinchillas, and they’ll cuddle with them if they can.  I have no fear of the cats killing anything in the house, they’re all fat and lazy.

But no, immediately I get attacked because they assert cats just can’t be that way!  Cats are innately evil creatures that are out to murder your children.  Of course, from the description of the cats these windbags are describing, it’s no wonder they’re such mean cusses, they’re kept outside, they don’t get attention, why is anyone surprised that they maintain a predatory instinct when you treat them like predators!  It’s like saying children are evil and then only looking at the children that get abused and beaten and ignored by their parents.  Maybe it’s not the kids, or the cats that are evil… maybe it’s you.

Of course, I don’t say anything like that, I’m nice about it.  I just shrugged, as much as you can shrug online, and said “I don’t know, maybe I’m just doing something right”.  I figured it was an innocuous response that got my point across, but didn’t directly attack anyone else, unlike they did to me.  It just didn’t work out that way.  Now they’re calling me “high and mighty” because somehow my animals are better than everyone else’s.  My dogs don’t kill my cats.  My cats don’t kill my birds.  My birds, in general, don’t bite.  These are common complaints from a huge part of the bird-keeping population, especially the last one, because most of them take in hard-luck cases off the street because their emotions scream out to them to do so, birds that have severe emotional and behavioral problems and are unlikely to ever leave their abusive backgrounds behind.  I’m intelligent about it, I only own well-behaved, well-trained, well-raised birds, I have extremely well-cared-for animals across the board and they don’t feel the need to supplement their diets with their housemates.

Dogs aren’t evil.  Cats aren’t evil.  Birds aren’t evil.  Irresponsible, emotion-driven, irrational pet owners, they’re the ones that are evil, and unfortunately, we’re surrounded by them.

Being Mad Doesn’t Make One Wrong

you-mad-broThis is another one of those funny little observations that you make when you’ve been arguing with idiot theists and they all seem to have the same pattern.  I’ve noted in the past the tendency to vilify people that a lot of failed debaters have, where they cannot actually defend their own claims so they want to try to vilify the opposition as a means to justify their own actions.  This is yet another case of misdirection, where they realize they’ve lost the debate on any rational grounds so they try to make an end-run around the far side of sanity.

“Hey, why are you so mad?”

I think we see a lot of that with the whole “angry atheist” thing, theists will deflect the failures of their theology by inquiring why the person who is asking them to defend their faith is upset or angry, even if it’s clear that they’re not.  Obviously, if their opponent wasn’t so pissed off, they’d be able to see just how wonderful the religion or the political claim or whatever actually was!

In reality, it is just a fallacious deflection, an attempt to get around their own failures and if you point out that’s what they’re doing, it’s just more proof that you’re far too upset to be worth talking to.  I’m not sure if the ploy is designed more to give them a quick escape hatch because you’re too mad to deal with, or if it’s designed to frustrate you enough to actually make you mad, but I find that once they spring the “why are you mad” fallacy, there’s usually very little way to back away from the precipice.  They’re just going to ask that question over and over and over again and any response you make, no matter how measured and pleasant, is going to convince them that you’re getting madder by the minute.

The fact is, so many of these apologetic techniques that I see lately seem to be more a means of getting out of a debate than in actually winning one.  Perhaps theists are finally starting to realize that they can’t win based on evidence and reason, they can only call for blind faith and if the person they are debating eschews faith, they’re shit out of luck and have to call for a hasty retreat.

I wish I knew of a good tactic for people who use any of these irrational escape ploys.  Anyone have any suggestions?

Should We Protect Anti-Gay Advocates?

Christian hatersIt’s very likely that New Zealand will pass a gay marriage amendment in the very near future and edit out gender-specific wording from their current marriage act, but now the churches are yelling and screaming at  the last moment, not just to stop the amendment from going through, but to protest what they foresee as discrimination against their anti-gay sentiments after the amendment is passed.

Well that’s a new one.

The amendment, called Louisa Wall’s Marriage Bill, is a shoe-in for passage and even though the religious desperately want the bill defeated, at the very least, if it passes, they want legislature added to protect anti-gay crusaders from being criticized as they continue to harp gay hate down the line.

Chief among their fears are that teachers are going to be dismissed or disciplined for telling schoolchildren that gays are evil sinners and will burn in the fires of hell.  Um, why shouldn’t they be disciplined for doing something so utterly idiotic?  Schools  are for teaching kids facts, not for indoctrinating a teacher’s opinion.  I don’t think that schools and other places of employment should be open to talking about whatever the hell you want without consequence anyhow.  An employer, and that includes the state, ought to be able to set guidelines about what can be talked about around customers, and children in this example are customers, and what cannot.  It is not a democracy.  That’s not to say that the teacher isn’t free to say whatever they want to say outside of the school setting, they have just as much right to free speech, presumably since I don’t know New Zealand’s laws, as anyone else does.  Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

But I don’t think anyone should have their opinions enshrined as protected under the law.  Speech, like any other action, can potentially have consequences.  That’s really what these people are trying to avoid, the swell of public opinion turning against them.  They don’t want their hate-filled speech to be shouted down, they don’t want to suffer public derision because the majority of the nation doesn’t agree.  They want to have their cake and eat it too, even after the country voted to have pie.

That doesn’t mean I don’t think they shouldn’t have the exact same rights as everyone else, if they want to discuss their unhappiness with gay marriage in any amenable group at a socially acceptable time, more power to them.  However, the idea that their own little hate-brigade should corner the market on law-endorsed hate speech is pretty absurd.  What’s next, the racists want their speech individually protected by law too?  The women-haters are next?  Where does it end?  The fact is, the anti-gay crusaders fought the good fight and lost.  It’s time to take their lumps and move on.  Unfortunately, we all know they won’t, they’ll just keep railing against the new law and keep pushing their luck in order to get increased publicity.  They just don’t want to face any consequences for their actions.

That’s where we part company.

Pat Robertson Isn’t Getting Any Saner

Pat Robertson
When you gotta go, you gotta go…

In a recent episode of the 700 Club, evangelist and all-around lunatic Pat Robertson informs us that not every piece of clothing that comes from a thrift store is possessed by demons.

Well thank goodness for that!

One listener called in and asked him if she should bless objects she bought at Goodwill before bringing them into her home because her mother told her that demons could “attach themselves to material items.”

Exactly how far out of your mind do you have to be before you would even entertain asking such a ridiculous question?  And is it better or worse for objects you buy at the Salvation Army?

Pat, good old insane Pat, confirmed that yes, a sweater can have a demon attached to it, but not to  get too worried that everything you buy from Goodwill is possessed.  Still, it doesn’t hurt to be careful and to rebuke the demons from your clothes.

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDpp9UWVjsQ’]

So my question is, why stop there?  Maybe there are demons in your Cheerios!  It could be that your papayas are possessed!  You could have evil in your egg carton!  It doesn’t hurt to pray over everything in your house, does it?  Anything that passes your  threshold could be positively packed with pernicious poltergeists!

Or you could just be sane, realize demons don’t exist and this whole thing exists only in the head of the delusional.

If You’re Not Part of the Solution…

otherwise you're part of the problemAs the old saying goes, if you’re not part of the solution, you are indeed part of the problem.  I’ve pointed out in the past that there are many vocal movements out there whose entire purpose in existing is to garner attention.  If you oppose those movements, engaging them in discussion is working at odds with your opposition, the more you talk about them, complain about them or even talk to them, the more attention they get and thus, the happier they are.

One of the classic examples of this is the Westboro Baptist Church.  They exist as attention whores.  It’s all they care about.  You cannot debate their beliefs, you cannot talk about their beliefs, you cannot talk around their beliefs, everything that you do while speaking about them, even obliquely, gives them the attention that they crave.  You simply cannot win that way.  In fact, the only way you can achieve any kind of victory is to simply ignore them completely.  Don’t talk about them.  Don’t look at them.  Pretend they don’t exist.  Just walk away.  If everyone does this, they’ll fade into obscurity.

The other obvious example is Atheism+.  It’s also an attention-whoring group, mostly to garner page hits and thus advertising revenue.  Only the lowest level members think otherwise, the heavy hitters like Ophelia Benson and PZ Myers know where their bread is buttered, you just have to watch their behavior to see how they operate.  They want money.  They drive visitors to their pages to get money.  When visitors stop coming, they do something stupid or outrageous and the visitors come flooding back.  The only way to stop them from acting stupid, I doubt it’s possible to make them stop being stupid, is to stop putting those dollars in their pockets, stop adding to the mindless hysteria by talking about their drivel.

That’s exactly why I had my New Year’s Resolution this year to totally walk away from all things Atheism+ on either side.  I no longer listen to anyone on the pro-Atheism+ side, and that includes people just talking about radical feminism, radical social justice, etc.  It doesn’t have to fall under the A+ label, just the kind of things they obsess over.  I didn’t stop there though, I also walked away from anyone who spent an inordinate amount of time talking about the Atheism+ retards.  Not only was I not going to give the social justice crowd the page hits they were desperate for, I wasn’t going to support the people who drove others into the loving arms of the ad revenue generation on the social justice crowd’s web pages.  Let’s be honest, where there are people making a name and fat bank account for themselves under the Atheism+ label, there are plenty of people on the other side making a name for themselves on attacking Atheism+.  I think both sides are ridiculous and want no part of either.

However, there are quite a few atheists who delight in commenting, tweeting, blogging and generally playing right into the hands of the attention-whores.  It’s not like they’re ignorant, they know what they’re doing but they just can’t control themselves.  Some of them were nothings on the Internet before the debacle came along and become well known because they could suckle at the teat of controversy.  I just don’t have any respect for people whose fame comes from being lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and who haven’t earned that fame on their own.  There’s only so valuable you can be if someone drops the ball in your hands and you just run away with it.  We can only grant so much respect to people who didn’t do much, if anything, to earn it.

So please people, stop fueling the fire and giving attention to these whores.  It’s all they need.  They don’t care if you hate them, they don’t care if you shine the light of recognition on their activities, they don’t care how absurd they look, so long as that ad revenue keeps rolling in.  You’re only slowing their eventual decline into obscurity.  You’re only keeping stupidity afloat one more day.  The longer you do it, the longer the skeptical world will suffer from the inanity of Atheism+, just as the longer people cater to the Phelps crowd, the longer they’ll dance around like monkeys on a leash.  They only do it for money.  If we want to stop them, we have to take that money and exposure away.

Mine Ears Have Heard the Whining of the Loony Liberals

whine
A liberal extremist is born…

Just had a relatively unpleasant experience, was having a nice chat on Twitter with someone about illegal immigration and apparently, some loony liberal was watching the other person’s timeline and decided to take over the discussion without asking permission.  I generally don’t mind if people interject their thoughts, that’s sort of what Twitter is for and anything that you say outside of direct messages is publically accessible and open to response.

However, we were talking about the impact the drug trade in the U.S. has on the corruption of the Mexican government, which is largely run by the drug cartels and all of a sudden, a huge pile of drug-thugs showed up and started arguing for the legalization of drugs.  I’ve made my thoughts on that quite clear previously, there’s no chance someone is going to convince me that shoving a needle in their arm or smoking a joint is a responsible action, but they gave it their all, starting out reasonably polite but quickly getting extremely rude when I wouldn’t admit that they were right.  Most petered out pretty quickly but one guy stuck around and was quite adamant.  And of course, as I’ve previously predicted, he followed the typical path straight to vilifying anyone who disagrees with him, saying I had to be a hypocrite because I didn’t follow every single law on the books, therefore I couldn’t criticize him for ignoring laws willy-nilly either.  I asked what laws I had broken and he couldn’t come up with any.  He made accusations, of course, and when he couldn’t actually catch me in any, he got frustrated and cussed me out.  At that point, not being one to block anyone but spammers, I simply chose to turn off Twitter for a while until he went away.

I wish I could say this is uncommon but it’s really not.  It happens quite often on Twitter, where people think that shouting down the competition is a favored means of winning a debate.  Heck, today, that asshat Sacerdotus, when we started disagreeing with his typical Catholic rants and pointing out that it’s not the atheists who are out raping children, started calling for the Twitter police to come and ban us for making him unhappy.

Geez, I hate fucking stupid people.