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

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Great Video - Vaccines

Check this video out and recommend it to your friends when they give off anti-vax vibes. It's well done and full of great info.

(tip o' the horns to Dr. Plait over at Bad Astronomy)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

California Supreme Court


Monday, May 25, 2009

New UFC Light-Heavyweight Champ!


Sunday, May 24, 2009

If It's Broke....

I gots me no computer until Friday on account of its getting cleaned, made stronger, faster, better, smarter. Please amuse yourselves until such time as I am able to provide humourous and skeptical content once again.

Thank you, that is all.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

111th Skeptic's Circle

Akusai over at Action Skeptics has the new Skeptic's Circle up. You better get over there, 'cause it's only available for the next 20 minutes, 'cause, you know, they can't keep doin' this all day. ...You followin' me, Camera-Guy?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thanks, Jenny, Jim, and Oprah!

For the worst measles outbreak in 13 years. Ignorant douchebags.

Atheists Are Immoral And There Is No Goodness Without God

Riiiiiggght. Remind me again why we listen to anyone from the Catholic religion?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shafer Parker, Answered

Report Magazine has a cover story that just begs to be taken apart. It is written by Shafer Parker, who has a better command of the language than, say, Charlotte Allen, but there are enough stupid turns to warrant a smackdown.

We shall start with this paragraph. Oh yes, we shall:
Regardless of where they run, the bus ads must themselves cause the reader to ask: why the nuanced declaration, "There's probably no God?" Freethinkers are supposed to be atheists, who by definition are certain there is no God. Unless, that is, they're not so certain. It may be that after being beaten up logically by an apparently unending stream of Christian debaters, the truth has finally sunk in that until the marrow is squeezed from every subatomic particle in the cosmos and beyond, no one can state definitively that God does not exist. Notwithstanding atheist claims regarding the certainty of the non-existence of God, they are forced to admit that until all is known about life, the universe and everything, in theory he might still be found to be existing somewhere, thus making the cautionary "probably" a necessary insertion.
Parker needs to talk to an atheist. I only say that because certainty is not available in anything except dogma. I mean, I can say with a very very high degree of certainty that the computer I am typing on will not just randomly float up to the ceiling. Can I say that with 100% certainty? No. More like 99%. Atheists are not "certain" that there is/are no god(s), we recognize that there is absolutely no evidence for the existence of said and live our lives as though there were no god(s) up there (or down there or under there) watching us on some celestial CCTV.

I love the bit where Parker says that atheists have been, "beaten up logically by by an apparently unending stream of Christian debaters". That is maybe the funniest thing I have read in a long long time. Who are these master debaters that have swash-buckled the atheists off the plank? Dinesh D'Souza? Alister McGrath? You have got to be joking.... Please enlighten me.

The bit about holding off judgment on god(s) existence until we know everything in the Universe is just ludicrous. So, because we can't prove for certain that there are no flying six-legged green buffalo on Venus, we can't logically be ahexabuffavertovenesian aeralists? That's just childish and stupid. That's called "shifting the burden of proof" and it is just not allowed. If YOU make the claim that there's an invisible man in the sky watching us and judging us, perhaps you could offer up some evidence before you call us atheists lame for saying we think you are full of horse pucky.

On to the next bit:
In fact, the atheist bus ads represent 17th-century French philosopher Blaise Pascal's wager in reverse. (Pascal said a person should "wager," or bet, that God exists, because by so doing the person has everything to gain if it turns out to be true, and nothing to lose if it turns out false.) Thus, the atheist's conclusion – "stop worrying" – becomes a complete non sequitur. Logically, the atheist ad's argument leads back to Pascal's original outcome: namely, that as long as there is the slightest chance God does exist, human beings are better off if they behave accordingly.
What? This is a twist that requires some essplanin'. Pascal said that either there is no god, or there is a god. If He exists and you believe then you get eternal bliss, if you don't believe then it's the fires of Hell for you, my man. If there's no God and you believe, you lose nothing. If you don't believe, you lose nothing. The atheist bus signs have no relation to this silly false dichotomy (quadratomy?) We say that there is no evidence for any god(s), so just be a good person and enjoy your life. The fact that the word "probably" is in there lets everyone know that we, differing sharply from the religious folks, are not dogmatic and are open to new evidence should any pop up. We are not, however, holding our breath.

Next bit is this lovely bit of dodging:
It would never occur to Hitchens to write, as London Times columnist Matthew Parris did this past December: "Now a confirmed atheist, I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good."
Here's the Parris article from The Times Online. I do not think that you will find any half-educated atheist who would say that everything religions do is evil, but what you will see is the subtitle of Hitchens' book - How Religion Poisons Everything. The good work by missionaries in African countries desperately in need of clean, safe drinking water is to their immense credit. The other side of that is evidenced by someone like the damn Pope, Chief Leader in a Dress, who shows up and tells everyone that the AIDS crisis in that continent will not be helped by condom use, but will be made worse. The good work done by so many poisoned by an "infallible" leader. This is our point and it is over-looked by Parker.
Finally comes Dawkins' The God Delusion, in which the author's intolerance and scorn toward those who believe is explained as his subjection of religious beliefs to the same rigorous examination afforded any scientific theory (except Darwinian evolution, of course – the justification of which has formed the matter for most of Dawkins' published work). Dawkins is convinced that all religions "close people's minds to scientific truth, oppress women and abuse children psycho-logically with the notion of eternal damnation."
I had to cut this paragraph off because of the dumbness of Parker's whining about Darwinian evolution not being held to scientific scrutiny. I love it when an ex-minister, pro-life, pro-family voice (so read - anti-women's rights, fag hating) starts talking about the scientific theory of evolution by natural selection as though he were an authority. Talking to a man whose life has been consumed by evolutionary biology and telling him that the evidence supporting the theory is not held up to scientific standards. Do you think that Parker has ever heard the term, Scope of Practice? No, I don't think so. Scientific evidence for the theory of evolution? Here you go. Spend a weekend getting through that, sir.

And lastly, thankfully, blissfully....
But in spite of the apparent growth of atheism among the young, Hugo Meynell, retired professor of religious studies at the University of Calgary, suggests atheism is unsustainable in the long run. "The universe is intelligible," he argues, "and the very existence of science depends upon the fact that it is knowable, uniquely pre-shaped to be understood by the human mind. This did not happen by accident. We are part of a purposeful creation, and that implies the existence of a Creator."
The quote from a retired religion professor: for when you absolutely, positively have to misunderstand every point a rational person makes. Accept no substitutes. "The universe is intelligible"? It's nice to just say that and have folks think you're being all deep, but you are declaring it with no evidence whatsoever. Sadly, that is typical of a mind warped by the authoritarian decrees of religions. Mind poisoning once again. We are not, "part of a purposeful creation", we just are. Apologies if that is too much for your brain to handle, but that is the way it is. Live your life with purpose and it shall have it. Spend your life drunk, high and violent and that shall be your legacy for eternity.

Atheists believe that this life is the only one we have and as such, we try to make the most of it so that our legacy - the memories of us in our friends, family and children - will be one that is worth keeping alive. That is heaven, sir.

Tell Oprah What Jenny McCarthy Should Do

Via PZ, I have gone to Oprah's page asking what potential viewers would like to see on the new show that Harpo is giving McCarthy. Their question is worded thusly:
What Should Jenny Do?
You've seen it all over the news...Jenny McCarthy, one of America's funniest and coolest moms and Harpo is giving her, her own show.
Here is where YOU come in.
What would you like to see featured on Jenny's show? What would you like for her to talk about? What are you and your friends buzzing about?
Any topics you'd like for her to tackle? Are there any questions that you have -- that you would love for her to answer?
If so -- we definitely want to hear from you!
Write to us and tell us exactly what you'd like to see Jenny do.

Make sure to include your questions and thoughts in detail. And make sure ONLY to write if you'd be willing to talk to us on national television.
We look forward to hearing from you.
You should go and let the production team know what you think McCarthy should do. Here's what I submitted:
Jenny McCarthy should have as guests doctors and professionals who can educate her about health and medcine. She needs to learn that her "mommy instinct" is not comparable to scientific testing and that her ignorant ravings about "greening our vaccines" are getting children sick and, in worst case scenarios, killed. She has a terrible combination of arrogance and ignorance that is unlikely to get debated out of her, but I do have hope.
Yeah, I know, I didn't use profanity or make a stupid joke. I figure when kids are dying, it might be sufficient to actually try to make a point.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Charlotte Allen, Answered

Reprinted without permission from the L.A. Times and with commentary by me in blockquotes. Enjoy.

Atheists: No God, no reason, just whining
Superstar atheists are motivated by anger -- and boohoo victimhood.
By Charlotte Allen

I can't stand atheists -- but it's not because they don't believe in God. It's because they're crashing bores.
Right, so why take time from your obviously worship-filled schedule to address us? You're like a loser who claims to hate Jennifer Aniston but can't stop reading about her in Us Weekly and making snarky comments.
Other people, most recently the British cultural critic Terry Eagleton in his new book, "Faith, Reason, and Revolution," take to task such superstar nonbelievers as Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins ("The God Delusion") and political journalist Christopher Hitchens ("God Is Not Great") for indulging in a philosophically primitive opposition of faith and reason that assumes that if science can't prove something, it doesn't exist.
Um, no. They say that if there's no evidence for something, why would you believe in it? If you have evidence, we'd love to see it, apart from that, take a hike with your silliness and stop shoving it in our faces like we're the stupid ones.
My problem with atheists is their tiresome -- and way old -- insistence that they are being oppressed and their fixation with the fine points of Christianity. What -- did their Sunday school teachers flog their behinds with a Bible when they were kids?
I quote Cardinal Cormack Murphy-O'Connor: "...there is, in fact, in my view, something not totally human if they (atheists) leave out the transcendent. If they leave out an aspect of what I believe everyone is made for, which is a search for transcendent meaning, we call it God, if you're saying that has no place, then I feel that it's a diminishment (sic) of what is being human...I think that if you leave that out then you are not fully human." Sound oppressive at all? How about this one: "No, I don’t know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic." That was former U.S. president George H.W. Bush. Nice. Oh, more? You'd like more? Here ya go: "They don't have a good - marketing. If they had hallmark cards, maybe they wouldn't feel so left out. We have Christmas cards. We have Kwanza cards now. Maybe they need to get some atheist cards and get that whole ball rolling so more people can get involved with what they're doing. I think they need to shut up and let people do what they do. No, I think they need to shut up about it." Karen Hunter in a three-way discussion on atheism on Paula Zahn's CNN's show with not an atheist in sight. Seriously, read the whole transcript - the last segment - for the pain of stupidity on nation television.
Read Dawkins, or Hitchens, or the works of fellow atheists Sam Harris ("The End of Faith") and Daniel Dennett ("Breaking the Spell"), or visit an atheist website or blog (there are zillions of them, bearing such titles as "God Is for Suckers," "God Is Imaginary" and "God Is Pretend"), and your eyes will glaze over as you peruse -- again and again -- the obsessively tiny range of topics around which atheists circle like water in a drain.
Gee, I wonder if atheist blogs have to keep railing on the same topics because religious folks don't ever, ever, ever pay attention to our replies and we have to deal with the same stupid "arguments" time and time again? Just a thought.
First off, there's atheist victimology: Boohoo, everybody hates us 'cuz we don't believe in God. Although a recent Pew Forum survey on religion found that 16% of Americans describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated, only 1.6% call themselves atheists, with another 2.4% weighing in as agnostics (a group despised as wishy-washy by atheists). You or I might attribute the low numbers to atheists' failure to win converts to their unbelief, but atheists say the problem is persecution so relentless that it drives tens of millions of God-deniers into a closet of feigned faith, like gays before Stonewall.
This is a painful paragraph to read because of its complete lack of understanding. Try growing up in the southern U.S. with a big 'ol family. Then get to an age where you start to...what's that term...? Oh, right, "think for yourself". Once you start to do that and come to the conclusion that there is no Old Man In The Sky (OMITS), just TRY to come out (if I may borrow a phrase from the Giant Evil Homosexual Agenda) to your family as a non-believer. Allen has no idea what she's talking about and obviously no desire to get educated, but blathers on like a know-it-all. Sort of a microcosm of most fervent believers, eh?
In his online "Atheist Manifesto," Harris writes that "no person, whatever his or her qualifications, can seek public office in the United States without pretending to be certain that ... God exists." The evidence? Antique clauses in the constitutions of six -- count 'em -- states barring atheists from office.
This is so stupid that it pretty much requires a new word. It is brain-deadery at its most bashed. Harris is making the point that if you do not at least pretend to believe in a god(s), people won't elect you because of their misguided association with religion and morality/goodness. Allen's inability to recognize this is to either not understand Harris' point or to purposefully mislead her readers. Way to go!
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled such provisions unenforceable nearly 50 years ago, but that doesn't stop atheists from bewailing that they have to hide their Godlessness from friends, relatives, employers and potential dates. One representative of the pity-poor-me school of atheism, Kathleen Goodman, writing in January for the Chronicle of Higher Education, went so far as to promote affirmative action for atheists on college campuses: specially designated, college-subsidized "safe spaces" for them to express their views.
Just a quick point here: Doesn't Allen realize that she's talking about how stupid it supposedly is for atheists to be complaining against being discriminated against in an article that does nothing but spew hatred and ignorant discrimination towards atheists? Irony meter...straining...
Maybe atheists wouldn't be so unpopular if they stopped beating the drum until the hide splits on their second-favorite topic: How stupid people are who believe in God. This is a favorite Dawkins theme. In a recent interview with Trina Hoaks, the atheist blogger for the website, Dawkins described religious believers as follows: "They feel uneducated, which they are; often rather stupid, which they are; inferior, which they are; and paranoid about pointy-headed intellectuals from the East Coast looking down on them, which, with some justification, they do." Thanks, Richard!
Admittedly, Dawkins isn't the most light-handed fella in the world. That being said, when most, if not all, of the "arguments" coming at atheists from religious folks are so old they could apply for a fucking pension and so stupid that they have to wait for the bus that comes after the short bus, you can't fault us for calling some of you out. Sometimes, when there's smoke, there really is a burning, incandescent fire of stupid.
Dennett likes to call atheists "the Brights," in contrast to everybody else, who obviously aren't so bright. In a 2006 essay describing his brush with death after a heart operation, Dennett wrote these thoughts about his religious friends who told him they were praying for his recovery: "Thanks, I appreciate it, but did you also sacrifice a goat?" With friends like Daniel Dennett, you don't need enemies.
A bit of etiquette here: if you're going to quote someone, please at least read the article and get the context. Dennett's actual line there is, "I have resisted the temptation to respond 'Thanks, I appreciate it, but did you also sacrifice a goat?'" See, it changes the whole thing. He didn't actually say that to his friends. In fact, earlier in that same paragraph he says of his friends who prayed for him: "The fact that these dear friends have been thinking of me in this way, and have taken an effort to let me know, is in itself, without any need for a supernatural supplement, a wonderful tonic. These messages from my family and from friends around the world have been literally heart-warming in my case, and I am grateful for the boost in morale (to truly manic heights, I fear!) that it has produced in me." Sort of makes Allen seem like an insincere douche, doesn't it?
Then there's P.Z. Myers, biology professor at the University of Minnesota's Morris campus, whose blog, Pharyngula, is supposedly about Myers' field, evolutionary biology, but is actually about his fanatical propensity to label religious believers as "idiots," "morons," "loony" or "imbecilic" in nearly every post. The university deactivated its link to Myers' blog in July after he posted a photo of a consecrated host from a Mass that he had pierced with a rusty nail and thrown into the garbage ("I hope Jesus' tetanus shots are up to date") in an effort to prove that Catholicism is bunk -- or something.
*sigh* I really have to delve into why this idiotic, moronic, looney, imbecile is wrong in just about every aspect of this paragraph? Just the Coles Notes version, please? Indeed. University of Central Florida student Webster Cook did not swallow a Catholic Eucharist because he wanted to show it to a friend. Catholics lost they effin' minds. PZ stood up for the student because, after all, it's just a goddamn cracker. PZ gets a cracker (along with some other stuff) and symbolically destroys it to make a point and take some of the heat from the kid. It was not to, "prove that Catholicism is bunk -- or something." Literally six seconds of checking would have told you what happened. I guess anyone can haz jurnalizm.
Myers' blog exemplifies atheists' frenzied fascination with Christianity and the Bible. Atheist website after atheist website insists that Jesus either didn't exist or "was a jerk" (in the words of one blogger) because he didn't eliminate smallpox or world poverty. At the American Atheists website, a writer complains that God "set up" Adam and Eve, knowing in advance that they would eat the forbidden fruit. A blogger on A Is for Atheist has been going through the Bible chapter by chapter and verse by verse in order to prove its "insanity" (he or she had gotten up to the Book of Joshua when I last looked).
Is anyone else getting bored with this woman's blathering yet? I am. My eyes glaze over as if a donut maker just frosted my pupils with sugary goodness. Anyone who has actually sat down and read the (worst book I have ever struggled to get through) Bible knows that it's a book of horrors and insanity with very small pockets of goodness. Enough said.
Another topic that atheists beat like the hammer on the anvil in the old Anacin commercials is Darwinism versus creationism. Maybe Darwin-o-mania stems from the fact that this year marks the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth in 1809, but haven't atheists heard that many religious people (including the late Pope John Paul II) don't have a problem with evolution but, rather, regard it as God's way of letting his living creation unfold? Furthermore, even if human nature as we know it is a matter of lucky adaptations, how exactly does that disprove the existence of God?
Oh for chrissake, I'm not going to tell this illiterate woman why "lucky adaptations" have nothing whatsoever to do with the theory of evolution by natural selection. I'll let a high school biology student tell her that (provided that her religious buddies don't succeed in taking the subject out of schools altogether). I'll speak for most atheists here when I say that we really, truly, honestly don't give a crap what you believe, but in science class, the research shows that the mass majority of scientists who do biological research for a living agree that evolution happened. Apart from that, you religious people just leave us the hell alone. The problem is that you can't.
And then there's the question of why atheists are so intent on trying to prove that God not only doesn't exist but is evil to boot. Dawkins, writing in "The God Delusion," accuses the deity of being a "petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak" as well as a "misogynistic, homophobic, racist ... bully." If there is no God -- and you'd be way beyond stupid to think differently -- why does it matter whether he's good or evil?
Here's a better response to this bit that I could throw together. It's by Paul Fidalgo at The Examiner. A quote: "Dawkins doesn't think God is evil because Dawkins doesn't think God exists at all. He is remarking on the literary character in the context of its worship by real life humans. Indeed, Dawkins writes specifically in The God Delusion immediately following this passage (p. 31) that his case against theism 'should not stand or fall with its most unlovely instantiation, Yahweh...' I'm guessing Allen did not get that far, all of four inches or so down the page."
The problem with atheists -- and what makes them such excruciating snoozes -- is that few of them are interested in making serious metaphysical or epistemological arguments against God's existence, or in taking on the serious arguments that theologians have made attempting to reconcile, say, God's omniscience with free will or God's goodness with human suffering. Atheists seem to assume that the whole idea of God is a ridiculous absurdity, the "flying spaghetti monster" of atheists' typically lame jokes. They think that lobbing a few Gaza-style rockets accusing God of failing to create a world more to their liking ("If there's a God, why aren't I rich?" "If there's a God, why didn't he give me two heads so I could sleep with one head while I get some work done with the other?") will suffice to knock down the entire edifice of belief.
Do me a favor here and replace the word "God" with "Zeus" in this paragraph. Does her point make sense? Would she be so forgiving of someone who worships Zeus and said that she didn't "make serious metaphysical or epistemological arguments against Zeus' existence"? Please.
What primarily seems to motivate atheists isn't rationalism but anger -- anger that the world isn't perfect, that someone forced them to go to church as children, that the Bible contains apparent contradictions,...
Apparent? Ha!
...that human beings can be hypocrites and commit crimes in the name of faith. The vitriol is extraordinary. Hitchens thinks that "religion spoils everything." Dawkins contends that raising one's offspring in one's religion constitutes child abuse. Harris argues that it "may be ethical to kill people" on the basis of their beliefs. The perennial atheist litigant Michael Newdow sued (unsuccessfully) to bar President Obama from uttering the words "so help me God" when he took his oath of office.
Ok, #1, Hitchens thinks that religion poisons everything. It's the subtitle of his book. At least judge a book by its cover if you're not going to read it. #2, if the case isn't obvious for child abuse, then just making your child believe nonsense can be damaging enough. #3, Harris defends himself against this charge at his site thusly, in part: "Some critics have interpreted the second sentence of this passage to mean that I advocate simply killing religious people for their beliefs. Granted, I made the job of misinterpreting me easier than it might have been, but such a reading remains a frank distortion of my views." I recommend reading that webpage to Allen as it would save her from looking like such as dumbass.
What atheists don't seem to realize is that even for believers, faith is never easy in this world of injustice, pain and delusion. Even for believers, God exists just beyond the scrim of the senses. So, atheists, how about losing the tired sarcasm and boring self-pity and engaging believers seriously?
Whose sarcasm you callin' "tired", Willis? My sarcasm may be bitter, annoyed, over-the-top, foul-mouthed, and perhaps even a tad jaded, but it's never "tired". I'll thank you, wait, actually I won't thank you at all.
Charlotte Allen is the author of "The Human Christ: The Search for the Historical Jesus" and a contributing editor to the Minding the Campus website of the Manhattan Institute.
And a heck of a jurnalizt.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Sphincter Says "What"?

Next time a Creationist retard says to you, "So It rained on a rock, rock made soup, life came from the soup?", you get to say, "Um...yeah."

(Once again, H/T to PhysOrg)

Curveball? It's Only An Illusion!

Um, only the coolest visual illusion of the year. No, really, it is. There was voting and everything. Go check it out.

(H/T to PhysOrg)

Monday, May 11, 2009

That's Right...Blame Satan....

The hubbub over (hopefully-soon-to-be-former) Ms. California's little "I hates the gays" comment isn't over because now she's saying to, of all people, James Dobson, that Satan "tempted her" with the marriage question at the Miss USA pageant.

Riiiiggght. Satan disguised as fucking Perez Hilton. Satan. Are we referring to the same non-existent character here? The Prince of Darkness? Lucifer? That guy dressed up as a flaming queer to "tempt" you, Carrie? Nah, there's easier ways to get you to rescind your beliefs...maybe just showing up with a nice big cheque for some sparkly new titties. Well, that or a be a smooth-talking himbo with atheist leanings. That'd probably work too.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Annie Lennox

Seriously, how gd good is Annie Lennox?

Love her.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Oprah & Jenny Kill the Children Union!

You know the Apocalypse is close at hand when Jenny "Kill the Children" McCarthy and Oprah "Sure, I'll make money from killing kids" Winfrey join forces in a Voltron of Woo and Stupidity.

At least someone in the more "main stream" media is paying attention - not that it will matter. It's not like McCarthy is going to have balanced discussions on the topic or anything, much like her Evil Overlord, Oprah.

Ignorance & Arrogance, thy name, wait - thy names are Jenny and Oprah.