The Lower Quote, As If You Didn't Know, Is By Richard Dawkins, Son.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The War on Halloween

Here we are on October 31st and all's well in the...wait a minute. There's something not right. Oh man, Christians are trying to fuck up Halloween! You might say there's a "War on Halloween" being waged by overzealous wannabe religious do-gooders in the South.

Can't one fucking day be about something other than your stupid ass sky daddy? Do you have to inject every single goddamn festival with your ridiculous ideas and superstitions?

"'If they want supernatural, let's give them Godly supernatural', Mr. (Bruce) Watters says. 'We've got to spread Christianity one person at a time. This is an opportunity to reach younger people, and some parents along the way, on a very strange night.'"

No, assface, it's a time when people forget about their troubles for a couple of hours and get dressed up like a whore or sexy fireman. Kids go out and get free candy so they can eat WAY too much and make use of that dental plan you work so hard to earn. Stick your Christianity up your balloon knot, dipshit.

"For his part, Watters regards Halloween as 'a satanic celebration' that he tries to counter by displaying a cross and an angel statue on his porch. He also asks parents for permission to pray over their children"

Permission to pray over their children?! These people are assaulting the pagan nature of Halloween and are going against the teachings of the Founding Fathers. Don't they realize that this Nation (ok, that nation...I'm in Canada) was founded as a secular place that was not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..." (U.S. Treaty with Tripoli, 1797)? Well those are the words of George Washington and John Adams, so stick that up your rosebud, Smelly. Founding Fathers, indeed.

Not to mention that like the nice Wiccan lady says Satan is a Christian idea so Halloween has nothing to do with the Flamy One. Dead people, sure, but not Lucifer. More of a John Edwards/James VanPraagh festival, really. It's fairly typical for a Christian to wrongly characterize the "problem" and then offer up "solution" that no one wants or needs. Thanks, shitface.

"'After we saw the evil side of this night, we decided we were going to bring light to it', Pam Malone says. The Malones now set up tables in their front yard, play recorded Christian music, and hand out doughnuts along with collections of scripture verses to trick-or-treaters."

Wow, if ever there were a way to alienate yourselves as dicks, this is it. That is undoubtedly the WORST Halloween treat ever - scripture verses. Handed out with lame ass church music played in the background. Fuck me.

And what, pray tell (pun intended) is the "evil side" of a night where little girls dress up like princesses and little boys dress up like Superman? Why is it bad to be scared for a night? ONE NIGHT A YEAR? Life isn't supposed to be all gumdrops and rainbows (actually, in a Christian world, there'd be no rainbows because they represent those nasty homersexuals). There's supposed to be some scariness and uncertainty.

So let's recap quickly. There's a War on Halloween that must be stopped. In a Christian world, all holidays, festivals, and parties MUST have Jesus mentioned at least once every three minutes and there MUST be boring-ass music played that also mentiones Jesus every song at least five times. There will be no gays, certainly no atheists, and no religious beliefs that are not involved with the tonguing of Jesus' transubstantiated ballsack. We will all be the same. You will be assimilated.

Fuck, that's the scariest Halloween costume ever. If only it were a costume....

Monday, October 30, 2006

I'm a Bad Blogger - So Here's a Bribe

I have been a horrible blogger of late. A bad case of writer's block coupled with busy times at work. That being said, I'm going to post this because I saw it on another blog and thought it was fantastic. Plus I'm a huge Charles M. "Sparky" Schultz fan and I used to collect Peanuts books.

Enjoy this and I will write again. Soon. I promise.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Ain't No Gods - The Carnival

The 52nd edition of Carnival of the Godless is available for your perusal over at Skeptic Rant. Help a brother out and go have a look-see.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Skeptic's Circle on a Mission from the OMITS

The new Skeptic's Circle is up and can be read here! Apparently it's on a mission from the Old Man In The Sky...enjoy.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Foreskin Follies & The Vagina Massacre

I enjoy having all my original parts, so to speak, and as such I really don't understand the urge parents have to take pieces off their children. Male or female, there is no reason to do this (don't give me the "it's cleaner" reason for males because it's not - maybe 200 years ago when people bathed once a month, but not anymore) and it truly illuminates the lengths we will go to in order to adhere to stupid cultural or religious "norms."

Male circumcision is often justified as being a part of the person's religious heritage. A quote from the article by Sherry Colb states:
... Muslims and Jews have performed circumcision on their sons for thousands of years as a religiously required practice. It serves as an affirmation, at a very basic level, of their religion and culture. To suggest that such a practice is 'unnecessary' is accordingly to ignore this feature of circumcision, the fact that it is experienced by many as an essential and imperative component of their religious and cultural identity.

I'd buy that if the person being circumcised was of an age to consent to what was happening to them. As noted scientist Richard Dawkins and others have said, there is no such thing as a "Muslim baby" any more than there are Liberal babies, Conservative babies or Microsoft babies. It is the parents of these children who are making a religious choice for another person, sometimes against their will (or future will).

I'm going to say that the practice isn't "essential" or "imperative", and I'm backed by the American Academy of Pediatrics in their 1999 statement:
Circumcision is not essential to a child’s well-being at birth, even though it does have some potential medical benefits. These benefits are not compelling enough to warrant the AAP to recommend routine newborn circumcision. Instead, we encourage parents to discuss the benefits and risks of circumcision with their pediatrician, and then make an informed decision about what is in the best interest of their child...

So no, it's not essential. The Colb article also claims that, "Studies suggest...that there may be a cosmetic preference for the look of the circumcised penis." Really?! Well fuck, let me run out and get that handled. Holy shit, women get pissed when men suggest that we have a "cosmetic preference" for a shaved vagina. Imagine how far off the handle they'd fly if we suggested that they should cut a part off of their clitoris because "studies show" it looks better.

Fuck you and fuck your studies.

She concludes her article by stating, "Until we can say with certainty that circumcision is truly harmful to children in a lasting way, we should probably leave it alone." Right, so keep doing that unnecessary removal of normal tissue to ANOTHER PERSON who may, later in life, not like that this was done to him, because it seems at the moment to not be eternally physically/emotionally harmful. Fuck you with a barbed wire mitten.

Moving on to female circumcision or, more appropriately, female genital mutilation (FGM). If ever you want a demonstration of barbarism in culture and religion, behold this sad display of backward "thinking". With this you can have either or both of a clitoridectomy or infibulation (see above link for definition; aka Pharaonic or Sudanese circumcision). If you think this is kid stuff, you're right - most of the girls are operated on before age ten. Most girls are playing with dolls and dreaming of a life with one of the Hanson brothers, not - "...(having) parts or all of their clitoris or labia removed....their vaginas sewn up or the flesh shrunk with corrosives,". That is what we like to call Top Shelf Fucked Up. Why does this sort of Jeffery Dahmer shit get a pass because of the religion/cultural tag that's slapped on it? Blows my mind. Thankfully the British government has laws to protect people, even if they are having a ton of problems enforcing them (ref.). The Canadian government also grants refugee status to women fleeing the practice - go us.

I'm harping on the fact that FGM is a religious practice and you could certainly argue that it is "a social custom, not a religious practice." True as that may be, I'd bet a lot of money and my right testicle that most of the people who perform the rite and most of the people who subject their daughters to it use religious as well as social rationalizations for it.

How polite do we have to continue to be to religion/culture and their horrifying "customs"? Destroying the adult sex lives of women is not something quaint to be celebrated in villages before the girl's first period.

There also seems to be a bit of, "well, it happened to me, so it's going to happen to you" going on with the women in these tribes/cultures (maybe I'm reading too much into it, but come on...hazing breeds people who haze). These women need to seriously step back and take a fucking look at what they're doing. If you saw three people in an alley holding a woman down and using a fucking kitchen knife (or broken bottle! Read the article!) to cut her genitals, that would be just cause to jump in and, if necessary, get beat up or killed in her defense. Yet, here these countries are, attempting to make this behavior acceptable under the guise of religion and "social norms".

If ever you want proof of evolution, look at the terrifying reality of FGM and think about the small steps that would have had to take place to lead a village to the point where they hold down girls and do these horrible things. It's like a murderer who has an elaborate M.O. and stages his victims in poses, takes pieces of clothing, jewelery or skin, and leaves scarcely a trace behind. If a forensic examiner saw a scene like this, the first thought would be, "Ok, there have been previous murders or assaults where he cut his teeth and got his ritual down pat."

I've quoted Hicks before and I shall again, "...we're a virus with shoes."

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Good Pets?

I'm watching TV today and on Spike there was a commercial for a show called When Good Pets Go Bad. Now, I'm all in favour of watching animals beat the living fuck out of people - I've gone on record in the past as saying there's nothing funnier than when wild animals tear into the flesh and bone of a giant dipshit.

That being said, the commerical has short clips of a cobra striking at the groin of a dude, a crocodile snapping its jaws shut on the head of some asshat, and a bull tossing a rider through the air like so many potatos in a sack. All very entertaining and, in my opinion, humerous bits; the problem is that none of these animals are good pets. It's a tad misleading in the advertising and in the name of the show. Cats, dogs, budgies...I'd even extend it to include ferrets, iguanas, and what the hell, llamas. If you happen to be the owner of a crocodile, however, and it decides one day to "go bad", let me let you in on a little secret that everyone else knows as something called "regular common sense": crocodiles, cobras, and bulls make shitty pets that don't "go bad", they just think you'd make like a Coffee Crisp - a nice light snack.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Marvin Nash

In watching John Ashcroft on The Daily Show this week, I was struck by how easily he dodged the torture question. Jon made a comment about how Ashcroft was in favour of "tough questioning" (i.e. torture) and he basically said that if the United States had to, "yell in the face" of someone to get the answer to a question that may save lives/protect freedom & liberty, then they should do it as long as Americans were putting their lives on the line.

Does the United States use, say, waterboarding? Not the military anymore, certainly not since September of '06 when it was disallowed. Does the CIA use waterboarding, however? They certainly did against Khalid Sheik Mohammed who "begged to confess" after an interragator-impressing two minutes or so of resistance.

What is waterboarding? You are strapped to a board with your head lower than your feet, cellophane/plastic wrap or a towel is placed over your face and then water is poured over you. (ref.)
Waterboarding image from Tuol Sleng Prison, Phenom Penh, Cambodia
This painting is from Tuol Sleng Prison in Phenom Penh, Cambodia. Waterboarding was also used by the Khmer Rouge, in case you were wondering.

I realize that Ashcroft was talking about military use of the technique and about torture in general. It just sounded so evasive and slimy, to refer to a need to "yell in the face" just demeans the conversation, like a kid who you know stole something steadfastly blaming the cat.

Torture just doesn't work. To quote Nice Guy Eddy from Reservoir Dogs when he bitches out Mr. Pink and White for "questioning" the cop, "If you beat this prick long enough, he'll tell you he started the goddamn Chicago fire, but that don't necessarily make it fuckin' so!" Will you get the occasional bit of information, yes. Are you willing to trade the ability of foreign governments and secret organizations to use their worst and most terrifying means of confession on your troops/sons/daughters in return?

Monday, October 16, 2006

A Tournament, A Tournament, A Tournament of Lies

The second amendment of the United States Bill of Rights says, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Their current administration seems to be a Texas-style endorsement of that line of thinkin'; if everyone has a gun, no one will get their panites in a bunch and start shootin'.

Ok, so extrapolate that to the world stage and now "people" become "nations" and "arms" becomes "nuclear weapons"...or "nuculer", depending. North Korea somehow develops the brainpower from its starving denizens (Kim Jong Il must be ordering out for a group of scientists he keeps on a leash) to make a nuke and give it a test run (against the obviously hollow warnings of the U.S. and U.N.).

Out come the condemnations and sanctions from the United Nations. Bush's threat of early in his presidency that he "would not tolerate a nuclear-armed North Korea" has been called and the pot has gone to the DPRK. Bush would normally look like a loser because of this slap in the diplomatic face, but he has been such a monumental asshole the last five years that this just makes him look, to quote the great Lewis Black, "like a rectum."

So why can't the DPRK have nukes? There are eight countries with nuclear weapons now and three more with either suspected nukes or suspected clandestine nuclear programs, so why is there such a bug up people's (read: Bush's) ass about North Korea? Doesn't their "if everyone has 'em, we're all safer" argument hold? No, because Kim Jong Il is insane. He kidnapped a movie director, for fuck's sake (and as if those Bridgette Nielson circa. 1989 sunglasses weren't enough of an indication). You don't let crazy people have weapons that can kill a bunch of other people. The hypocrisy of this commandment...sorry, amendment, is very apparent within the U.S. and equally in their foreign policy.

Crazy people shouldn't have weapons. That's a good rule. The obvious problem comes with defining, "crazy." Personally, a leader who's population starves while he lives in a palace making shitty movies about himself qualifies. Conversely, a leader who's population died in the streets of a major city for a week and a half after a national disaster qualifies as well.

Why is it that, "no weapons" is a bad arguement? Yes, I realize that everyone will get all indignant and say stuff like, "Who are you to not allow me to have an anti-aircraft gun in my trailer park?" As Bill Hicks said, "I'm me, it's true, shut the fuck up."

Hunters use guns, police, security personnel, sport shooters, and quick-tempered celebrities use guns. I'm not naive enough to think guns will go away anytime soon, it would just be nice to have a set of guidelines that make sense and aren't hypocritical. Either it's ok for everyone to be armed (nationally or globally), or it isn't.

Again, as the great Bill Hicks said, "There, my hat is now in the political ring."

The Not-So-O...val Office

Oprah Winfrey has told a "superfan" that she will not be running for president. The really sad part is that if she decided to run, she'd probably win.

Might not be too bad especially if she put the Constitution and the Bill of Rights on her Book Club List (or at least stamped a giant "O" on them) and discussed them in front of an audience at the State of the Union.

The problem I see is that Oprah embodies that most painful of phrases, "spiritual, but not religious." Maybe she's religious, I don't know or care - but she certainly pumps the "spiritual" angle so as not to offend anyone and bring as many wishy-washy people into the circle as she can.

And there it is. She doesn't do confrontation, at least where it may offend. James Frey doesn't count because he was a dumbass and Oprah felt "duped" by his lies, so she called him on them. A few seasons ago when two women confronted Oprah during a "spiritual discussion" with a very strong, "Accepting Jesus Christ is the only way to achieve personal salvation" statement, Winfrey gave an extremely weak rebuttal and then said, "I can't talk about this right now." Can't offend those hundreds of thousands of Xtian viewers, right OW? That's your key demo.

She knows how to play the game and she's among the best at keeping her audience happy. I'm glad to see that she, unlike others, knows her limits with respect to that skill.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I Hear Skeptic People...

The 45th edition of the Skeptic's Circle is up over at The Inoculated Mind and it kicks just about all the ass I have. Admittedly that's not so much ass, but still, it's the thought that counts. Go over there and give it a listen...yeah, that's right - a listen.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

"I'll Show My Work, Give Me A Fuckin' Etch-A-Sketch..."

"I'm tired of this back-slapping 'aren't humanity neat?' bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay?" Bill Hicks

I have just about officially lost hope for our species after reading an article in the Toronto Star today (I realize that link doesn't go to the Star, but it's the same article) telling of a woman who got into a fight with her boyfriend and decided to use her four week old infant as a fucking Louisville Slugger to bash his head. Fortunately the kid lived and has only a skull fracture and intercranial bleeding for his trouble.

The authorities removed four other kids from this psycho's care as well as the injured infant and have pressed charges of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and simple assault. I'd also like to charge her with being, officially, the worst mother in the history of the world and the one who brought about the demise of our entire culture. Perhaps the coming of the Apocolypse, Now.

Anytime anyone says we're fantastic, I'm going to remind them of this woman, Chytoria Graham. I tend to agree for the most part with Mr. Hicks up there. We have our moments of being cool and everything, but generally we suck ass.

I'm going to have a brew and watch something pointless on TV.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Bad News

I'm very sad to report that Sean from the great site God is for Suckers has died. I enjoyed reading his posts and always found him to be quick-witted and a very good writer. Please go over there and read the In Memoriam post - it's well worth it, he seemed like a great guy who will be missed by many including me.

I think the Crash Test Dummies provide apt lyrics for the moment:

At My Funeral

I'm still young, but I know my days are numbered
1234567 and so on,
But a time will come when these numbers have all ended
And all I've ever seen will be forgotten.

Won't you come
To my funeral when my days are done?
Life's not long
And so I hope when I am finally dead and gone
That you'll gather round when I am lowered into the ground.

When my coffin is sealed and I'm safely 6 feet under,
Perhaps my friends will see fit then to judge me.
Oh when they pause to consider all my blunders
I hope they won't be too quick to begrudge me.

Won't you come
To my funeral when my days are done.
Life's not long
And so I hope when I am finally dead and gone
That you'll gather round when I am lowered into the ground.

If I should die before I wake up,
I pray that the Lord my soul will take but
My body, my body - that's your job.

Well I can't be sure where I'm headed after death;
To heaven, hell, or beyond to that Great Vast.
But if I can I would like to meet my Maker
There's one or two things I'd sure like to ask.

Won't you come
To my funeral when my days are done?
Life's not long,
And so I hope when I am finally dead and gone,
That you'll gather round when I am lowered into the ground.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Thanksgiving...Turkey...Douchepak...Coincidence?

It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and I've eaten more turkey than Rosie O'Donnell eats Krispy Kremes in a week. Stuffed to the gills, I am. I've been quite busy the last few days with the trip to the in-laws for the weekend and our anniversary, so I will direct you to a nice piece by PZ tearing Douchepak Chumpra a new browneye for his sillyass views on genes (and by "views", I mean "complete misunderstanding of, regardless of his supposed 'higher education'").

I'm going to unbuckle my belt and have a brew. Back at 'er this week.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Boobie-Thon

As I've said previously, me loves the boobies. So in the spirit of keeping as many of them around as possible, please go here and donate what you can...plus you'll get to see some great boobs if you donate $50 or more. What could be better?
Boobie-Thon
Hooray!

Hat-tip to the always ass-kickin' Two Percent Co.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Commenter Question Answered

This is a question I got in the comments of my last post and as I answered it I figured it would make a good next entry here. First in italics and abbreviated is the question followed by my answer, such as it is, in regular font.

"...Take science way back in time...to the 'Start of all life'...Who made the matter? Who made those first molecules? And if they weren't made where did they come from? How can something just start from nothing?...The problem is with all beliefs, one can't explain God always existing and having such power and on the other hand, science can't explain something like matter creating itself all on its own even though, it didn't exist before he started to create itself...Faith is the starting point for science...They say,,,I can't explain it but I believe it....how would you answer? Explain the start of all life."


"Explain the start of all life..." Wow, that's a biggie for a Tuesday evening. I'll be as honest as I can here - Firstly, I don't think science is faith, nor is it based on faith. The main difference between science and religion that I see is that science is comfortable with saying, "we don't know that yet." Religion has a huge problem saying it.

Imagine you don't know the words to a song. You listen and listen, but you just can't make them out. Obviously the singer is saying something, but you don't know what it is. Hell, you don't even know if it's English.

You can do two things here: either admit you don't know the words and maybe you'll find out someday what's being said (or maybe not) OR you can make up words and sing along with your made up lyrics as if they were the actual words.

Science says, "I don't know the words. Maybe they're English and maybe they're not, heck, maybe they're just jibberish and I'm wasting my time trying to figure it out - but the fun is in trying to solve the mystery." Religion says, "I know exactly what's being said and you all should say exactly what we say", even though they really aren't sure. Sometimes they'll even kill you if you say different words or try to get other people to admit they don't know what's being said. That's the difference I see.

At base level it really comes down to the Scientific Method. Observation leads to hypothesis leads to experiment leads to results leads to interpretation leads to conclusion leads to comparison with original hypothesis for confirmation or rejection. Religions start with a conclusion (God did it) and then all observations are filtered through this pre-determined conclusion so that the experiments are biased and the interpretation is skewed. There can't be an "I don't know" answer.

Science equals comfort in uncertainty. It's a great place to be and you learn so much more with such an open mind. Does science say "God doesn't exist"? No, but we haven't seen any evidence that leads to that conclusion yet, therefore we revert to Laplace's famous line to Napolean, "I have no need for that hypothesis."

Monday, October 02, 2006

"I'll Most Likely Kill You in the Morning..."

Stay with me here, I do have a point to make.

I love mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting. The Ultimate Fighting Championship, K-1, and Pancrase are my favorites of the many events and organizations that put on these fights. I'm not going to get into the arguments for or against this type of sport, but I do have something to say about the perception of it.

When I watch the events with other people, there is invariably someone there who hasn't seen one before or is new to it. Usually these people have seen street fights or bar brawls, maybe the occasional boxing match and they have their opinions of what a fight should look like. Nine times out of ten, these folks leave slightly disappointed with the grappling aspect because they don't understand it; they don't get that someone can win a fight when the loser looks completely unscathed.

Apart from that, there's always comments about how can the fighters shake hands before the fight, then try to knock each other out, then hug and congratulate each other afterwards, likely going for a beer or something. "How can they do that?!" is always uttered along with, "How can they get punched in the face and not get mad?!"

I'll answer that right here (and this is coming from a guy who's been punched in the face more times that I'd like to admit): it's not personal. It's a job to them. You go to work and shuffle papers all day, these people go and work out to get in shape so they can make another guy unconscious. That's it. It's nothing personal (with obvious rare exceptions).

The analogy I want to draw here with arguments, particularily with respect to religion, is that I can criticise your position and what you believe without getting personal. I can demolish your most cherished religious holdings deep within your heart and still have respect for you as a person. It's not a personal thing that I or many other non-religous people have against church/religous people. We just think what you believe is stupid and unsupported by any evidence whatsoever and we're not going to tip-toe around it. You're full of shit, but we will still buy you a beer to chat about it.

All you have to do it let us and be open, and that's where the problem comes in a lot of the time. You won't let us. Yeah, we can be jerks and we'll probably call you names, but isn't that better than punching you in the face? I think so. Plus we usually don't mean any harm with the name-calling anyway - it's just our juvenile way of trying to be clever.

So there is a difference between attacking you personally and us doing what we think is right. Your position is not "sacred" any more than ours is, so don't expect us to back down anytime soon and don't expect us to be polite - but we promise we won't try to kill you.