Sunday, August 31, 2008

Yet another fisking...

While looking at the collection of news stories and opinion pieces that regularly displays, I had the good fortune of coming across this wonderful little screed.

organized religion not only divides humanity into believers and infidels, it authorizes the former, with a beatific smile, to extinguish the latter. Often religion claims to be doing so for the good of the infidel.

But at least he has a good start :)

Modern would-be Voltaires such as Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins are just as strident in their hatred of religion in general and revealed religion in particular.
Apparently calling Richard Dawkins and company "strident" is passing the threshold into cliche. Nothing revolutionary here.

For my money, their arguments don't amount to a hill of beans. They simply oppose one dogma with another.

Calling atheists dogmatic? Wonderful. The classic "no, you" defense. Particularly hilarious when you are talking about a group of people defined entirely due to their lack of beliefs, as compared to a group of people unified by their adherence to a specific set of beliefs and rules. Please, tell us about the dogma of political moderates and those with no position on the economy as well.

Their questions like those of the village atheist are just plain silly: can an omnipotent God make a rock bigger than he can lift?

It is silly because the idea of omnipotence, in of itself, is silly. That is the entire point of the question being brought up. Omnipotence is a self-contradicting concept unless redefine what it means (all-powerful within the confines of what is possible to do, or all-powerful enough to override the rules of logic, and even overcome its own omnipotence).

why are they shouting so loudly?

The two most obvious explanations are, first, that they think their opponents are so powerful that they must amplify their own arguments just to get a hearing.

It's not about power, it's about their ability to plug their ears and pretend that they didn't hear a thing. But, of course, now that we have gotten their attention, even if it is through a particularly belligerent crowd, we are suddenly assumed to be vicious attackers of religion, regardless of the actual content of what they are saying. They are vicious and belligerent merely by merit of being heard.

Second, they know full well that their own arguments are so weak that they have to obscure this fact with a high-decibel diversion
That describes must religious debaters I have seen (i.e. "no, you!"). But, I am not sure how well that would work in print, and must of these loud, strident atheists tend to keep an indoor-voice while speaking publically. So, what exactly are you responding to?

, do think religion is both powerful and malign. They can point to Islamists for contemporary proof, but add that the current crop of fanatics has hordes of angelic predecessors, stretching back to antiquity.
Religion is indeed powerful, but not necessarily malign. It is just an undue distraction that can serve to alienate even in its most ideal forms, and can serve to justify the worst atrocities in its least. It does serve good, in much the same way that a pacifier and a security blanket can do good. As for "angelic predecessors", I would hardly think that they would be anything but, even without religion.
Every faith, the dogmatic atheists say, contains a seed of violence and torment, even (or especially) among those who see in their religion a command to love their neighbours, including neighbours as obnoxious as these atheist critics.

No, not every faith....just the ones that are popular. Which happen to be the ones that also have those oft forgotten commandments about love, forgiveness, and tolerance. As for being obnoxious....guilty as charged, mofo.
In short, the atheists' dogmatism is as much an expression of the weakness of their position as is the dogmatism of the believers.
Facepalm. Please show me how not liking religion counts as 'dogmatism', and tell me how this position is weak.
What Dawkins and his pals don't seem to get is that religious people are quite happy to think of themselves, for purposes of genetic biology, as survival machines for genes.
They should be, since it does nothing to deprive them of their social existence, or their mental existence, to explain the nature of our physical self to them.
They wonder, for example, where the first gene, selfish or not, came from. Or, if it came from the soup, where did the soup come from? Or the universe as a whole?
Well, the "soup" was just a liquid-suspended selection of chemicals, and the first gene may have been the result of proteins formed in such an environment attaching to one another. Of course, I am not personally educated on that subject. As for where the relevant chemicals came from, we don't know, and neither do you. At least we have the intellectual honesty to not base our entire lives and ideology off of one person's guess about the subject. When it comes down to it, origins are of a nominal interest to atheists in general, because even if it were consistent with a creator deity, then only deism, devoid of doctrine pertaining to the charcacter of the creative agency, would be given credibility. It is an essentially pointless issue in regards to an objective view of possible supernatural entities.
Karl Marx, who was equally dogmatic regarding such questions, said that even raising such questions was a waste of time. They were, he said, "abstract."

Gosh, I need to know this bloke's definition of "dogmatic", because it only takes a few minutes exploring the matter to discover the question of origins is currently unanswerable, and thus, pointless at our current point in time.
And then he told his inquirer to shut up. "Socialist man," he famously declared, "does not ask such questions." That is probably true. Socialist man does not wonder about where it all came from.
Am I the only one seeing the not-so-subtle jab, here? Didn't think so. How original, to imply atheists to be amongst the ranks of Marxists. As for your actual statement: it is perfectly fine to "wonder about where it all came from". It's when you think that you have the answer, posit an unknown and unknowable entity as that answer, and force others to change their lives and accept that answer, without any evidence, that you should rightly be dismissed. But, of course, your "wonder" inevitably falls waist deep into such dogma; real dogma.
The problem, however, is that some people find raising the question, even if they don't know the answer, a meaningful act. They are going to wonder about such things whether Marx or Christopher Hitchens approves.
As above: continue to wonder freely, but just realize that it is not going to necessarily result in an answer, and that if it steers its way into a pile of tangential doctrines and unverifiable beliefs beyond the realm of fanciful speculation, we reserve the right to criticize you.
Wondering means tolerating mysteries. Interestingly enough, it was Socrates, not some religious fanatic so pilloried by the evangelical atheists, who said that philosophy begins in wonder.

Wonder is something enlightened atheists never could abide. No wonder they shout so much.

Atheists can "wonder" and tolerate mysteries just fine. In fact, I would argue that they are the only ones who can truly wonder with sincerity. The only who sincerely want to protect the real mysteries of this life from misrepresentation. Because, it is when mysteries are subverted to further an unverifiable system of beliefs, draining the wonder from all of existence by claiming certainty in regards to a glorified guess, that atheists get most vocal.

And finally, on the issue of why we [apparently, in some hyper-religious version of reality] shout so much: people as "strident" as yourself don't help a hell of a lot.

Til' next time, folks!

Pacifism: Cheers or Jeers?

So, I was reading this great article about how objective morality is effectively irrelevant, and how the Bible's "morals" have not particularly affected the morality that present American society possesses today. And, in this article was a quote that caught my interest "pacifism is inherently immoral".

Though it surprised me initially, I can now say that it does make sense. Extreme pacifism, in the most dire situations, is akin to martyrdom for the sake of your own beliefs that violence should never be used, which feeds into a sense of moral superiority. Of course, this is sort of a strange thought for me to be having, since I consider myself to be pacifist. I did some more exploration on the subject, to see how I could best frantically justify some form of a non-violent position. And that's when I came across this article.

Pacifists are not serious people, although they devoutly believe they are, and their arguments are not being taken seriously at the moment.
Well, it's good to see his conclusions at the outset. I hope he shows his work...

It is worth it, first of all, because the idea of peace is inherently attractive
True....go on.

because the reactionary left-liberal crowd in America and in Europe has already staked out its ground here:
Tell us how you really feel...

What happened to America is America's fault, the fruits of foolish arrogance and greedy imperialism, racism, colonialism, etc., etc. From this rises an argument that the resulting war is also an exercise in arrogance and imperialism, etc., and not deserving of support.
In the case of America, a history of violence in the name of protecting others could have to do with the "Death to America" sentiment in the Middle East prior to 9/11. And this hatred proved fertile ground for violence directed towards us. We decide, of course, to respond with more violence. And decide to topple Iraq as well, despite it having no relevance to the attack received, thus lending more credibility to the "arrogance and imperialism" justification for hating us (if that was the actual reason...we really don't know).

Of course, this is the problem with paranoia, idiocy, and an over-reliance on violence and military strength, but it does not necessarily mean that pacifism is any better.

Pacifists see themselves as obviously on the side of a higher morality,
And I assume that this is a significant problem, because if they think that pacifism is of such incredible importance in determining whether they can call themselves "moral", which means that they will be hard pressed to abandon it when necessary. Arrogance, stubbornness, and a sense of moral superiority tend to go hand-in-hand-in-hand.

Two wrongs don't make a right; violence only begets more violence.
This is primarily true. And violence does only beget more violence...unless you wipe out everyone who gives a damn about it, and then decide to become (dramatic pause) pacifists.

So, for instance, a German citizen who declined to fight for the Nazi cause could be seen (although not likely by his family and friends) as occupying the moral position.
Why is it moral to refuse to fight for the Nazi cause, exactly? If he is German, and in the midsts of war, it is suicide to refuse to help the army fend off other countries now that Hitler had plunged headfirst into pissing off of the entire planet, and it is immoral to allow whatever unknown fates might await his loved ones and the defenseless populace, due to his own wish to have the moral high-ground. Saying "Nazis bad" isn't good enough.

But in the situation where one's nation has been attacked — a situation such as we are now in — pacifism is, inescapably and profoundly, immoral. Indeed, in the case of this specific situation, pacifism is on the side of the murderers, and it is on the side of letting them murder again.
This is the crux of matter: under what situations is pacifism is a moral position along with a tenable solution, and under what situation is it tantamount to appeasement or outright suicide? It is actually rather hard to tell, but what the author is trying to imply is that violence is a solution, and pacifism is only a route to victimization, in situations where you, yourself, are subjected to violence. As a general rule, violence being justified as a response to UNPROVOKED violence works, but, unfortunately, it tends to lend into the "violence begets violence" cycle due to varying perspectives. Which is our situation now: we have responded to the initial terrorist attacks in a manner that not only escalated it, but involved parties beyond the initial culprits, thus making us the unprovoked attackers of Iraq, and continuing to justify their own violence by remaining there.

In this case, pacifism would be best, because continuing to battle against a bunch of citizens who are only fighting us due to our insistence on continuing to battle is, in fact, immoral and idiotic.

The Nazis wished the British to not fight. If the British did not fight, the Nazis would conquer Britain.
Though diplomacy would be ideal, in a situation where you are in imminent and undeniable danger due to the overbearing presence of an individual or person who is making clear their intent to harm you, violence is also justified. Unfortunately, I would argue that responding to a threat is less justified, but more safe, than responding to actual violence, due to the ability of paranoia to leak in and turn every person or nation you interact with into an "imminent threat" (see: Iraq again).

Organized terrorist groups have attacked America. These groups wish the Americans to not fight. The American pacifists wish the Americans to not fight. If the Americans do not fight, the terrorists will attack America again. And now we know such attacks can kill many thousands of Americans. The American pacifists, therefore, are on the side of future mass murders of Americans. They are objectively pro-terrorist.
Ridiculous. Tell me which "pacifists" are not supporting us pursuing bin Laden, and I will concede. Otherwise, you are conflating "wishing the Americans to not fight" with "wishing the Americans would not fight people and countries unrelated to the terror attacks we are responding to". We are not fighting terror anymore. We are provoking people into defending their homes.

The rest of his article is pretty much the same as the above.
Of course, I ran across another article on the subject: a strange article that spends its first half in some hypothetical anecdote scenario where a mugger robs and kills a man who is unwilling to fight back due to being a pacifist, and then mugs another guy who pulls out a gun and shoots him. It is kind of funny if it weren't, you know, kind of contrived. But then, he goes for the nut meat.

The Pacifist claims that he (or she) is too good to fight against evil, and this is the catastrophic intellectual and moral failure of Pacifism. In the guise of being too good to oppose evil, the Pacifist invokes the ultimate immorality by aiding and abetting and encouraging evil, on the pretext of being too pure, too wise, too sophisticated to fight evil,
This is essentially true. Except, I disagree with the idea that "evil" is a clear and pervasive enough of a force for pacifism to be truly wrong. Full-blown pacifism in a scenario involving "evil" however, would indeed be immoral. So I suggest pacifism in moderation; within reason. Pacifism is only a virtue when there are people who are willing to respond to non-violent methods of problem-solving. When they are not, and clearly so, or when it is not possible due to time constraints and the threat of violence, then pacifism should be put on hold. But, keep in mind, if you start thinking that everyone is "evil" and use that as an excuse to use excessive violence, you may have suddenly become the problem yourself, and you better damn well wish that the person who sets you straight is a rational pacifist rather than a paranoid vigilante like yourself.

“There is nothing good worth fighting for. And there is nothing so evil worth fighting against.”
This is the problem with the pacifist. There are things good enough worth fighting for, and there are things evil enough worth fighting against. It is just nigh impossible to tell what those things are with certainty, and it is ideal to try to acheive them through non-violent ends, lest we ourselves become someone else's "evil". As a general rule, your own life is "good" enough to fight for (but not at the cost of other lives), and someone threatening to kill you with sincerity and with the methods of doing so is "evil" enough to fight against (but not at the cost of other lives). If you fight, and it turns out that the good was in no danger, and the evil was non-existent, then you may learn why pacifism is useful in situtations where it is practical and possible.

In order to be a Pacifist, one must hold that Nazism or Islamism or Communism or any other puritanical totalitarian ideology that seeks to slaughter or oppress all the Jews or all of any other race or tribe is no worse, is not morally inferior, to the existence of Jews and Judaism,
LOLWUT? If one is a pacifist, one supports peaceful solutions and does not think that violence is good. Those oppressive and murderous regimes are violent, and the victims are not. So, pacifists hold the victims as morally superior to the killers. Or am I missing something?

For the Pacifist devoutly believes that by refusing to fight against evil he is affirming that he is good, too good and pure to oppose evil, too good and pure to fight evil, to good and pure to kill evil. But in the end, he is the enabler without whom the triumph of evil would not be possible.
Sigh. It is confirmed: black and white thinker.

Anyway, even if they were a little off-base, the articles were enlightening enough for me to realize that complete pacifism (refusal to use violence at all) is a dangerous position, in that it could be outright suicidal in the wrong circumstances. But, if you take a looser pacifism, and realize that violence is sometimes a necessity, sometimes justified, but should still be used only in desperate, life-threatening situations, as it too often makes martyrs and infuriates friends, then you have got something that is practical and workable. Violence as a last resort, and only when provoked is a rather reasonable policy. I am not quite sure that it would qualify as "pacifism" of any kind, since it effectively seems to be an almost universal principle that all but sociopaths tend to act upon. So, I assume that pacifist may be one less label I need to bother applying to myself.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Redundancy is Poetic (?)

This. Is. A Villanelle!!

Among shadows past, hung low
As seen in tomes of knowledge grim
To unseen worlds within, I go.

And step, beyond the veil's moonglow
To stand, past stone, on night sky's rim
Among shadows past, hung low

I strain, against the ice void's flow
Escape from frozen sea, world's trim
To unseen worlds within, I go.

And dream to crash to stone below
Find warmth and friendship at the brim.
Among shadows past, hung low.

Cast to barren world alone, I slow
Wandering with distant thoughts slim
To unseen worlds within, I go.

Again, on plain of driven snow
Pining for a new life to skim
Among shadows past, hung low
To unseen worlds within, I go.

[ sucks...I shouldn't have chosen such awkward phrases to be repeated, due to a Villanelle's organizational pattern, in every other stanza. Just not suited for this kind of form...]

Thursday, August 28, 2008

America's Not Racist Anymore! Spread The Word!

After talking about Kenyan success in running events at the Olympics and immediately afterwards trying to draw the most broad conclusions he could from it, Dinesh D'Souza continues to ramble incoherently on the subject of race.

Who could not be moved at the sight of a major political party naming
Barack Obama, an African American, as its presidential candidate? To me, there
could not be a better sign that America has left behind its racist past.

Yeah, no. Considering that you are only talking about slightly more than half of a political party that makes up roughtly half of the country showing their support of Obama up to this point, it only shows that most Democrats are tolerant enough to support a black man instead of Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, there is plenty of room for these people to still have a level of racism in them that they are either trying to suppress or that is slightly less than their hatred of women and/or Republicans. And of course, we still have half of the country who will refuse to support Obama, squarely within the Republican party tent, whose ranks leave plenty of room for America's racism to dwell within it at full strength, under the veil of whatever misguided justifications they can concoct for such a refusal.

If we appreciate the significance of our current moment, we are driven to
an ironic but rational conclusion: perhaps the best way to recognize Obama's
historic achievement is to vote for John McCain this November.
Yes. Voting McCain will definitely prove that racism doesn't exist. Willing to vote in a continuation of an almost universally despised president in order to avoid plopping a black man into the Oval Office. Acknowledge a historic achievment by making it completely irrelevant and telling them "oh, so close but yet so far. Better luck in 2012, but America has spoken, and they want another old white warmonger". The fact that you use the word "rational" for this idea is disgusting.

for the past several years we have been hearing liberal Democrats emphasize how
racism still defines America, how things haven't really changed all that much,
how racism has gone underground and is now more covert and more dangerous than

It has. In lieu of obvious vehemence, hatred, and violence directed towards another race, there is now just a casual fear, distaste, and racial favortism that simmers, hidden as much as possible but still everpresent. And, due to this subtler, less visible, less obvious form that racism has taken, it is almost impossible to counteract, and impossible to overcome.
It may seem strange that a racist country would adopt legal policies that
discriminate against the majority and in favor of minorities.

Completely missed the point! Do you know why those policies to exist? To circumvent existing racist discrimination against those minorities, enacted by people who knew that it existed, and that it was having negative effects on them. And guess who these people were? If you said: the liberals who were fighting for civil rights from the outset and who have voted Obama to be their presidential candidate, than you would be correct.

Well, I don't know how many people have been drinking the liberal Kool-Aid, but
these people must be utterly shocked at the success of Barack Obama. Here is a
guy who could not possibly have made it as far as he has with only black votes.
He has attracted not only white votes but the votes of some of the most affluent
and successful segments of the white community.

Yes. White liberals. White people who are either plagued enough by white guilt, empathetic enough to not become hung up in regards to skin color, or just plain don't like Hillary enough to support Obama. And, guess what? They do not make up the majority of white people in our country! Hurrah, hooray! You've got to love the attempt to make it seem like racism doesn't exist by using the people who oppose the racist elements of society as evidence.
Obama's public message is that race doesn't matter and that transracial
alliances should be built on shared political and cultural values. It's a good
message, and how it must dismay professional civil rights activists to hear it.

That is some kind of epic retardation, right there. Civil rights activists fully support transracial alliance and wholeheartedly believe that race SHOULDN'T matter, you twit. The only problem, is that for a good segment of society (and a powerful one at that), it still DOES matter. Does it matter universally? No. Does it matter objectively? Should it matter to anyone? No. Does it matter to people? YES. And that's what civil rights activists are active against.
Clearly there are many in the liberal Democratic camp who are made profoundly
uncomfortable by the recognition that racism is no more a defining feature of
American life or even African American life.

No. Not really. Not uncomfortable at all. I am made "profoundly uncomfortable" by people who are both ignorant and overly optimistic enough to believe that this is true to an incredibly large degree. It may not be a "defining feature", but it sure is a significant influence, even if it is below the surface. There is still is racial tension, and there still is a segment of people who are as hateful towards different races as they were decades ago. The idea that this wouldn't have an effect on the recipients of this closeted hatred is leaves me simply flabbergasted. It may not be "defining", but it sure as hell isn't negligible.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that racism does not exist. This is a big
country, and surely one can find several examples of it. But racism, which used
to be systematic, is now only episodic

Racism still is systematic. It's just that the system has been made less focused on segregation and violence, and more on exclusion and avoidance. If you define racism as only those actions which were defined by the old paradigms, before there were laws to prevent them or weed them out, then obviously there will be rare instances of it. But, unfortunately, racism is in intent, not in action, and the racism that once manifested itself before in certain ways has found new venues now that the old methods are no longer permissible. Instead of lynching black people and giving them separate water fountains, we simply have cops pull them over a little more often than their white counterparts, and have some white flight when they dare to move into our neighborhoods.
It exists still, it occurs reguarly still (though less dramatically and less often). The only difference now is that the government doesn't tacitly condone it anymore. So...that's something.
In fact, when I ask young blacks on the campus today whether America is racist,
many say yes. But if I ask them to give me examples of how that racism affects
their lives, they are hard pressed to give a single one. The best they can do is
to mention "Rodney King" or provide some well-known, recycled horror story.

OMG! Young people who don't have evidence from their own personal experiences to support their beliefs! The horror!
Recently someone told me that McCain is still winning the white vote by a
substantial majority and that shows "we have a long way to go" in overcoming
white bigotry. By this logic, blacks are have even longer way to go in
overcoming their bigotry since Obama is winning almost 98 percent of the black

Except, you know, for the fact that white people along with black people have been voting white for every election since their respective rights to vote where granted to them. Are you telling me that it would be bigotry to support a candidate from a never before elected minority group that you happen to be part of and who is not only supportive of the rights of your group, but of all other minorities as well? As compared to the alternative candidate, who is not only not part of your group, part of a group that has been elected 43 times consecutively in the past, but also represents a party that is composed of people that hate you? Yeah. A reaction against bigotry is not bigotry.
Even though Obama's candidacy signals that America is overcoming its racial
past, neither Obama nor his wife recognize that. Their personal statements, as
seen for example in Obama's books, are suffused with race-consciousness,
race-obsession and even racial resentment. The more privileges they have
received on the basis of race, the more embittered they seem to become

Just because you are fortunately in a position of privilege doesn't mean that you cannot sympathize with the plight of your less fortunate brothers, and it doesn't mean that you forget the past you had when you were not in such a position. They are "race-obsessed" because of all of the times they have most likely been subjected to questions, and criticisms based upon that very trait. A person in a society that doesn't care about race (i.e. one that isn't racist) would not become "race-obsessed". One that is responding to a society that has focused on such a trait unduly, however, would become one.
The source of these pathologies is the very liberalism that the Obamas have
embraced: a liberalism that declares them equal while treating them as inferiors
who need preferential treatment.
No. That is a strawman of affirmative action, which is intended to counteract institutional racial favoritism in regards to hiring policy, rather than to give them compensatory handicap. The "pathologies" are due to a hostile and racist climate that, surprise surprise, didn't just fade away into nothingness in the 40 years after the Civil Rights Act (in much the same way that it hadn't faded in the century or so since slavery had been abolished up to that point).
If you want to get rid of racial obsession, stop talking and thinking about race
so much. If you want to remove race as the basis of decision-making in America,
let's eliminate America's policies that make race the basis of decision-making.

Finally, something I can agree with. Almost. Racial obsession and racism will fade if people stop talking and thinking about it. The problem is that many people refuse to do so. Many people refuse to give up their blind, racially motivated hatred and cannot be forced to do so. But, as long as these people remain, and as long as they exist in a large quantity and have even a small amount of power and presence, racism will not die. In that sense, we must keep race in mind: not as something to judge people by, but as an indication of the potential prejudices that such people had to overcome. Hence, why we can't totally abandon race entirely as a basis of decision-making in regards to the protections provided affirmative action.

And if you want a party that stands for color-blindess and equal opportunity, you might consider voting for the Republicans.
Hilarious. They are "color-blind" in the sense of not being willing to defend people from those who adamantly hate a specific color. They are "equal opportunity" in the sense of giving people in a position of a power an equal opportunity to discriminate against people who are not part of one their arbitrarily defined groups, including race. They want a color blind government for a racially divided nation. Democrats want a color blind world, and will make sure that the laws protect the softer targets until then. Dinesh's futile attempt to spin that is both entertaining and depressing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

In Memoriam: The Week of May 12- August 25 (What? Busy Summer)

Insanity of the Day: When ironic punishment goes wrong, an angel cries. Mostly due to Jesus throwing a hissy fit and beating them out of frustration.

Blog Description: Where the End of Days is always just beyond tomorrow.

Wisdom from the Bowels of the Abyss: "Give a woman a fish, and you feed her for a day (and she is obliged to have sex with you in return). Teach a woman to fish, and you have just encouraged her to abandon her family, and her duties as a mother, a wife, a housekeeper, in order to fulfill her own selfish desires for self-worth and satiation of hunger. This horrible blunder, if repeated, leads to the degradation of the family, and the fall of society as we know it. I mean, seriously, what is wrong with you?"-Jesus, shortly after joining the Republican party.

Poll: Do you think that intelligent design should be taught in schools?
No. 0 (0%) Definitely no. 0 (0%) Absolutely not! 1 (100%) Maybe, but only if the students are in a coma. 0 (0%)

About Me: I am an emaciated hobo chained in a sick serial killer's basement with nothing more than a toothpick, a Nintendo Wii, and Wi-fi access to provide for my escape. I must relay my message to the outside world and get someone to come save me, without ever giving away the exact location of his imprisonment. If I fail to obey the rules of the game, by giving out identifying details of either myself or my captor, my head will be crushed in by an ornamental mace, and my corpse will be violated repeatedly before the police arrive on the scene.
Please, please, someone find me! I have left hints regarding my whereabouts in a total of two-dozen 500 character documents of an unintelligible gibberish. Someone, please rescue me. The meals here are subpar, the floor is too hard to sleep on, and I can't keep playing Wii Sports forever!
Location: London, South Jersey Shore, Egypt.

On truth, Truth, truf, and TROOF.

truth: An accurate assessment of reality; something that isn't false; a claim that is supported by, or consistent with, the facts. Factuality; actuality.

Truth: That which is considered to be the supreme reality and to have the ultimate meaning and value of existence. Often used inappropriately in place of the word "TROOF".

truf: Informal phrase that means "that is the truth", or simply "truth"; petinent to irrelevant, trivial, and insignificant matters only. Statements that could be called "truf" either are personal to the point of being irrelevant to anyone but the persons directly involved in the matter, or are otherwise obvious claims that do not advance a line of reasoning, and are often used for deceptive, manipulative purposes beyond the scope of the statement itself. See also: "non-sequitur".

TROOF: [for a lower-case version of the same word, see the definition of the word "truf" for alternate definitions.] A concept, or set of beliefs that is either believed by a sizeable chunk of society or believed with unwavering conviction by a specific individual addressed. The concepts or beliefs relevant are often either factually unsupported or outright falsehoods, but are nonetheless presented as truth or Truth (see above definitions) by those that hold them. The people involved must also present no possible doubts of the veracity of their claims in addition to the above criteria in order for the ideas presented to fit this definition. Bonus points if they are belligerent assholes about it. See also: "faith".

Sunday, August 24, 2008

When Opinions Suck

How can you miss the point so thoroughly, and show your prejudices at the same time? Write an opinion column about a group of people you clearly don't like and most likely know nothing about!

He definitely starts out on the right foot:

A few atheists have their panties in a twist once again, this time fussing that an atheist leader wasn't invited to speak at an Aug. 24 interfaith service that's part of the Democratic National Convention.

The service will feature Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist speakers. The official reason for the interfaith services is "to honor the diverse faith traditions inside the Democratic Party," which could easily include atheists. If they aren't welcome, it's probably because they're rude
The irony of suggesting that a diverse group of people is universally "rude" while beginning the column on that subject with a phrase such as "have their panties in a twist" is just so incredibly delicious.

This column has advocated religious liberties for atheists, citing case law that defines atheism as just another religion - as in just another unproven and forever unprovable belief.
Le sigh. How is lack of belief in an unproven and unprovable assertion an unproven and unprovable belief? How is lack of religion a religion? Under what condition could a person be said to not have any religion at all?

Therefore a belief in creation - or an original intelligence, Jesus, Buddha, or the "Flying Spaghetti Monster" - is no more valid in the eyes of the law than the odd belief that nothing could possibly exist beyond what our embryonic state of scientific discovery has seen in our relatively primitive microscopes and telescopes.
Attacking materialism, are we? Well, I've got to say, seeing as how we can say absolutely nothing with certainty about those things beyond our current realm of scientific understanding, saying that such things are essentially irrelevant to us for now is perfectly valid. It is definitely foolish to say that there is nothing at all that exists beyond our current scientific understanding, but that is only a straw man. The point is that we can only work with the things that we know, and those things are physical. Anything outside of that is just speculation, especially when you claim detailed knowledge. Belief in a specific kind of creative intelligence is infinitely more specific and much more unfounded than such assertions.

To rational thinkers, atheism seems a sad and shallow belief. That's because great scientists understand that, metaphorically, they've discovered little more than the drawings on the walls of a cave. They don't know what's beyond the cave or how it began.
And once we discover more, we will be ready to accept that. But, the thing is, once again, anything positted at this point about such subjects is just speculation. If atheism is a sad and shallow belief, I cannot imagine how to describe those who state with utter conviction that they know how the world came to be, and that an unproven and unprovable entity is behind it, of which they have exact details of what his demands are. Even the boldest atheism is humble by comparison.

They pretend that atheist beliefs are proven true, while others are proven false.
Since atheism is lack of beliefs, and there is no proof either way, that is pretty much true. If not, please complain about the unfounded beliefs of a-fairyists, a-bigfootists, and a-UFOists as well.

Their approach to ministry is overbearing and rude. They engage in confrontation, with disregard for persuasion
Every challenge to your religion would be considered "overbearing and rude" no matter how polite the demeanor and tame the content. The mere act of questioning religious authority is deemed "rude" by most people. And, as for "confrontation", do you seriously think that you can call the attempts of those within your own religion to persuade other people to "see the light" only less confrontational than atheists? The only reason you see it as confrontation is because it is calling you on bullshit that you've place up on a pedestal and that is just not very polite, is it?

In other words, if I'm not invited to your party then you're bad.
Excellent straw man. She was not judging the character of the DNC, only saying that supporting faith is turning its back on those who do not have faith. No value judgments, just an attempt to show them that they are embracing one group at the expense of another in the name of unity.

You simply weren't invited to a private party for "believers.
It's not a private party for believers: it is an event sponsorred by the Democratic Party during their national convention in order to express their support of people of various faiths. But, the issue is not that we simply were not invited, it is that the event itself was designed specifically to exclude us, by, as you said, being "for 'believers'". It should be for EVERYONE, be they Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, or nothing at all. Because these are all the faiths and non-faiths that make up the Democratic party. By making it just about the religious people, they are excluding a segment of the Democrats as well as perturbing the religious moderates that make up a significant amount of the party base.

Boulder atheist Marvin Straus accused Democrats of "pandering" for the religious vote. How dare they reach out to people who believe in God? There oughta be a law!
Sigh. Did anyone suggest that they SHOULDN'T do it? No. Is anyone suggesting that they should make sure to include those who are not religious as well? I would assume so....

Hitler imagined a world without Jews. The Freedom From Religion Foundation rented a billboard near the Colorado Convention Center that says: "Imagine No Religion."

That Godwin came outta nowhere. Anyone aside from this putz think that the sign suggests genocide? Anyone? Anyone else think that Hitler killed the Jews out of hatred for religion, rather than just out of simple religiously supported antisemitism? Anyone? Bueller?

Imagine a world with no religion and one sees a world without the Golden Rule, devoid of most charities, hospitals and great universities.

Really? The "without religion, there is no morals" gambit? There is a reason why almost every religion on Earth has some variation on the Golden Rule. It is because it is a self-evident description of how basic human empathy forces us to behave. As for charities, hospitals, and universities having religious origins: that is merely because such a large portion of our population (and almost every person in a position of power) happen to be religious. One could hardly assert that their religion had anything to do with the existence of such institutions, however.

Imagine no religion and one sees a world ruled by atheist tyrants - Pol Pot, Albania's Enver Hoxha, Stalin and Mao, to name a few - who have murdered tens of millions in modern efforts to cleanse society of religion.
This crap will never die, will it?

American Muslims, Baptists, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Mormons, Quakers, Amish, etc., don't erect billboards saying "Imagine No Atheists."
First, "atheists" and "religion" are hardly comparable. Besides, they don't need to. They are able to advertise their religion in every form of media imaginable and use that as a platform to implicitly or explicitly rant about the evils of non-belief just like you are doing here. The bulk is a major issue. A single billboard erected by harmless minority talking about a general institution rather than a specific group is much different then people saying "get rid of this minority group".

They don't advocate theft and desecration of atheist property, even though an atheist hero in Minnesota stole and destroyed the Catholic Eucharist

And I didn't think that you thoroughly established your retardation enough in the former sentences. Thank you for sealing the deal. Deciding to not eat a wafer handed to you is hardly the same thing as "theft". And besides, he only destroyed property that was meant for destruction anyway. He just did it in a manner different than intended. The only comparable thing that they could advocate in retailation is for people to get invited to atheist's house for dinner, and secretly flush a single portion of the meal down the toilet at his own house afterwards instead of eating it.

Besides, do you even know the rabid response that PZ received in response to the very suggestion that he may do such a thing? Advocating theft pales in comparison...

It's likely they didn't invite atheists to their faith service because they didn't want embarrassing guests


Atheists should fund universities and hospitals. They should feed and clothe starving kids.

Hear of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet? Are you aware that most atheists are not internet trolls? Your presumptions are sickening. I wish that rebutting you didn't play right into your hand, allowing you to point and say "look at how rude and intolerant they are!". But, whatever. I am not a representative of the atheist anymore than you are a representative of whatever idiotic religion turned you into the heavily blinded putz that you are. END.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Ding, dong, the ding-dong's dead

Looks like Edward Gordon abandoned his blog. A true shame. His fight against the evil atheistic influence will have to be taken up by someone else (preferrably someone who doesn't tie everything in society to the "atheistic influence").

Christian Cross Talk: 2007-2008. [Insert sappy montage here]

You will missed. Just not by me.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bananaland, Ho!

Newsflash: Ray Comfort is making a fool of himself! I present, for your amusement, the worst strawman of atheists ever concocted, which Ray proudly presents in his sidebar, as an undying testament to his profound levels of idiocy.

1. Whenever you are presented with credible evidence for God's existence, call it a "straw man argument," or "circular reasoning." If something is quoted from somewhere, label it "quote mining."

Oh. Can't point out logical fallacies now, can we?
Well, anyway, let me posit that Ray Comfort believes wholeheartedly that everything that can be uttered from a human throat is undeniable truth if they do so with honesty, regardless of whether they know what they are talking about. Thus, Ray thinks that we shouldn't teach our children mathematics.
Also, unicorns must exist because they left behind a grocery list. That grocery list is a trustworthy code for which to design our own grocery lists because it was written by a unicorn.
And, finally: "Good people don’t go to Hell." -Ray Comfort.

(Got all three fallacies covered....)

2. When a Christian says that creation proves that there is a Creator, dismiss such common sense by saying "That's just the old watchmaker argument."

If you are assuming that existence is "created" then of course there is going to be a is by your very choice of words that this conclusion must be made. But, unfortunately for you, we do not need to presume that the universe is a creation, so your conclusion of a Creator is equally weak.

3. When you hear that you have everything to gain and nothing to lose (the pleasures of Heaven, and the endurance of Hell) by obeying the Gospel, say "That's just the old 'Pascal wager.'"

That's because it is Pascal's Wager. And it is utterly uncompelling.

4. You can also deal with the "whoever looks on a woman to lust for her, has committed adultery with her already in his heart," by saying that there is no evidence that Jesus existed. None.

There is evidence that Jesus existed. Just not a very compelling amount. And not a large amount indicating that Jesus's existence is proof that the particulars of the Gospels are correct. Besides, that particular quote be taken one of two ways: 1. it is an honorable attempt to show that one's desires and thoughts can inhibit us as much as our actions or 2. that your particular deity punishes us for even thinking about a "sinful" activity in the flightiest manner, illustrating an inability to understand nuance.

I assume that you prefer the latter interpretation.

5. Believe that the Bible is full of mistakes, and actually says things like the world is flat. Do not read it for yourself. That is a big mistake. Instead, read, believe, and imitate Richard Dawkins. Learn and practice the use of big words. "Megalo-maniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully" is a good phrase to learn.

It is full of mistakes, believers in the Bible did believe the world was flat and some verses suggest that it is a valid perception, and most atheists have read and understand the Bible better than believers. Not to mention the fact that lack of religion (atheism) is not a cult of personality, and not all atheists even like Richard Dawkins, let alone want to emulate him. Also, the tacit suggestion that you are afraid of "big words" really tickles me.

6. Say that you were once a genuine Christian, and that you found it to be false. (The cool thing about being an atheist is that you can lie through your teeth, because you believe that are no moral absolutes.) Additionally, if a Christian points out that this is impossible (simply due to the very definition of Christianity as one who knows the Lord), just reply "That's the 'no true Scotsman fallacy.'"

Yeah, that's right, the atheists are the ones who lie. Atheists could not possibly be former Christians in a nation that is 80% Christian and attempts to indoctrinate children at the age of 8 onward. And, with your definition of Christianity, there are very few Christians in existence, and yet you could not prove their Christianity either way. Which is why it is the "no true Scotsman" fallacy. Belief in Christian doctrine is sufficient enough, not unverifiable divine connections or whatever you are attempting to gerrymander the defintion to.

7. Believe that nothing is 100% certain, except the theory of Darwinian evolution. Do not question it. Believe with all of your heart that there is credible scientific evidence for species-to-species transitional forms. When you make any argument, pat yourself on the back by concluding with "Man, are you busted!" That will make you feel good about yourself.

Nothing is 100% certain, including evolution. But, it is our best evidenced explanation for differentiated life at the time, so that makes it good enough to be believed in. Why do I get the feeling that you are writing these after several tear-stained hours reading atheist comments that completely eviscerated your arguments, and you somehow managed to remain ignorant to that fact, but just felt like you were being unjustly persecuted by the mean evolutionists?

8. Deal with the threat of eternal punishment by saying that you don't believe in the existence of Hell. Then convince yourself that because you don't believe in something, it therefore doesn't exist. Don't follow that logic onto a railway line and an oncoming train.

You should really be wearing garlic necklaces, have silver bullets on you at all times, and wear a tinfoil hat. Just because you don't believe in vampires, werewolves, and telepathic aliens doesn't mean that aren't real.

9. Blame Christianity for the atrocities of the Roman Catholic church--when it tortured Christians through the Spanish Inquisition, imprisoned Galileo for his beliefs, or when it murdered Moslems in the Crusades.

Catholics are Christians, deal with it.

And, for irony's sake:
10. Finally, keep in fellowship with other like-minded atheists who believe as you believe, and encourage each other in your beliefs. Build up your faith. Never doubt for a moment. Remember, the key to atheism is to be unreasonable. Fall back on that when you feel threatened. Think shallow, and keep telling yourself that you are intelligent. Remember, an atheist is someone who pretends there is no God.

LOLZ must follow. Most atheists don't have many other atheist friends. However...the religious...