Archive for the ‘stupid’ Category

J’ai toujours fait une prière à Dieu, qui est fort courte. La voici: Mon Dieu, rendez nos ennemis bien ridicules! Dieu m’a exaucé.

I always made one prayer to God, a very short one. Here it is: “O Lord, make our enemies quite ridiculous!” God granted it.

Voltaire probably wasn’t thinking of Bill O’Reilly and his paranoid “War on Christmas” bit when he wrote this, but given a time machine he could have been. Yes, it’s that time of year again: Fox News is yet again trying to show just how angry they can get over the smallest of things in attempt sell more of their hate — and it warms my cold, cold atheist heart. I don’t like Fox New and I don’t usually have a reason to watch it, but for the past couple of years I’ve made sure to catch all the “War on Christmas” bullshit because there is nothing more amusing that a bunch of adults trying to frame the phrase “Happy Holidays” as an attack on civilization. Seriously this is one bit of the 2009 coverage of their paranoid delusions:

Yes, kids, they are angry that Christianity isn’t being given special treatment. Come on, it’s oppression when you lump them with the Jews, Pagans, and African-Americans. Don’t you see that?!?!?! [insert bawling]

Bonus LULZ: The young woman who thinks people should be offended by “Merry Christmas” because it’s has nothing to do with Christmas and it’s just like saying “Happy Holidays” — which is why she can’t just say “Happy Holidays”.

The highlight of the “War on Christmas”-season, so far, has been Bill O’Reilly, Gretchen Carlson, Margaret Hoover trying to figure out why atheists hate Christmas:

The “theories” these assclowns come up with are:

  • Margaret Hoover: They hate American culture
  • Gretchen Carlson: They hate Baby Jesus
  • Bill O’Reilly: They’re jealous of the presents we get

I’m not kidding, this is actually what they claim to believe.  The best part is the basis of their claim that atheist hate Christmas is an ad that says “No God?…No Problem! Be good for goodness’ sake”  and has people wearing Santa hats. This is all the proof these people need to claim that atheists hate Christmas. I forgot, it’s also because the American Humanist Association doesn’t put up ads saying similar things any other time of year — oh, wait, they do.


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J.B. Handley has decided that his organization aimed at peddling dangerous pseudoscience about vaccines didn’t make him enough of an asshole, so he decided that go for the tried and true way of proving douchebaggery: misogyny.

In case you missed the multiple smack-downs posted by some awesome science bloggers, here’s some background: Amy Wallace writes an article on how anti-vaccination loons (henceforth called antivaccaloons) are creating panic out of thin air and ignorance. J.B. Handley does his usual job of throwing shit at anyone criticizing him and takes it one step further by emailing Wallace some pretty fucked-up shit. Here have it straight from the horse’s (or rather horse fucker’s*) mouth:

Warning: discussion of rape and date-rape drugs (more…)

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I’ve avoided writing much on religion and atheism because there are plenty of people on these internets that do a much better job of it, but when a review of David Adams Richards’ new book God Is. peppered with some of his pretty asinine quotes popped up in my RSS reader – well, I couldn’t resist.

I haven’t read the book, and based on several reviews I doubt I’ll be reading this, so this is not a review or critique of the actual book. For all I know the quotes may be out of context and the context given by the articles may be skewed, but having seen these same things said and written by others I’ve decided to address them as they are.

“I believe that all of us, even those who are atheists, seek God – or at the very least not one of us would be unhappy if God appeared and told us that the universe was actually His creation,” Richards writes in God Is.

And I believe this is where I say Richards is wrong because he is. Unless he’s decided that the many atheists saying “no, I’m not interested in this whole God business” are not part of “all of us”, he’s wrong. I don’t “seek God”, whatever that means, and in the unlikely situation that there is a God I doubt I would be pleased. Maybe I’m alone in thinking this, but the idea of an all-mighty creator watching over me is as annoying as my mother sitting behind and watching as I surf the internet.

But that part of the quote is just usual feel-good nonsense from the religious, it’s not really that offensive and ignorant. This is:

Oh, we might put him on trial for making it so hard, and get angry at Him, too, but we would be very happy that He is here. Well, He is.

I’m so insanely tired of religious people regurgitating the idea that atheist are just angry at God for making things hard. I’m guessing this partly originates from the fact that many atheists rightly use the problem of evil to demonstrate that some conceptions of God are self-contradictory. However, some dimwits seem to hear this as atheists being upset at God for their shitty lot in life. These dimwits are wrong and made of fail. I’m not going to claim that it’s impossible to be upset by something that doesn’t exist because I’ve been upset by fictional characters before. Hell, reading parts of the Bible make me pretty disgusted with the God character. That is, however, very different from actually acknowledging that a particular character exists. The anger I feel toward fictional characters is also different from anger at actual people and actual atrocities. [snark] But what can you expect from people who have a hard time telling fiction from reality[/snark].

Note the word in bold below, it’s important:

Richards uses incidents from his own life to underscore his belief that God is present in everyday life.
Others might call them coincidences or luck, like the day when he was a child and he was run over by a car. All four wheels missed him leaving him unhurt.
He also rolled a car end over end in his younger years driving at a 175 kilometres per hour and survived. In that case, his forgetfulness in not buckling up probably saved his life…”There are things that happen in life which seem to be absolutely ordained for us,” he says during an interview.

Seriously, can we stop selectively picking seemingly unlikely good things a giving God and/or that ritual goat sacrifice credit? I know we’re wired to see patterns everywhere and that when we’ve decided on a conclusion it’s easy to ignore contradicting evidence, but is it that hard to think up examples where we see patterns that don’t exist? Also, why is it that when these examples are brought up it’s always the good things being used as evidence for God’s plan? Sure there are the times when someone will console themselves after a tragedy by saying that God has a plan, but there’s always that undertone of tragedy being turned into a good thing.

Apparently, Richards also brings up Stalin and uses him as an example of what happens when you accept atheism. Because, you know, only atheists become a tyrannical, paranoid megalomaniac bent on killing millions of people. It’s not like there have ever been any Catholics who’ve committed atrocities, right? But that’s not the point. It’s not about whether people of X religious beliefs have done worse or better things. Using Stalin in this manner is like taking a sociopathic murderer as an example of what being human will lead to. It’s a dumb argument.

Richards also repeats the tired old refrain of religion is special and those mean atheist are well mean and disrespectful:

Richards staunchly defends “a person’s right to believe,” which he considers sacrosanct to a person’s humanity.
The glib comments of non-believers strike him as sanctimonious.

Really, that’s one great straw atheist being built there. I’m loving the implication that atheists want a world were people don’t have a right to believe whatever they wish. I’ve never seen that implied before and atheists have never ever said flat out that that’s not what they want.

But then again I have dealt with this all my life in my work, the idea that hubris and self-righteousness promotes sins against others. It’s the one thing humanity continually tries to overcome and that they overcome it by recognizing in themselves and others a universal truth and that if this is denied as Harris and Dawkins and Hitchens kind of mock it

*Yawn* So now we’re back to the whole “atheists can’t be moral” schtick because we don’t see the “universal truth”. It’s not like being moral is related to the way our brains work. Empathy and all those wacky feeling things our brains do don’t contribute to how we treat others. And hell, social constructs aren’t as meaningful as TEH TRUTH because we can all decide tomorrow that killing everyone we want is okay, even if we don’t actually do that. Who cares if there is no evidence that seeing TEH TRUTH makes you a better person.

“The church has done enormous harm in the world but that doesn’t mean that everyone who practises religion has done enormous harm,” he says.

If he means the Catholic Church, a correction should be made: The church is doing enormous harm in the world but that doesn’t mean that everyone who practises religion has done enormous harm. Now I agree. What he’s missing is that the many good religious people give money and time which supports the church in its endeavour to fuck over the world.

The Islamic fundamentalists have done harm but that doesn’t mean Islam has done harm … these things get very confused in our society. They get confused because there’s a benefit to those who want to confuse these things. I know many Catholics who are tremendous people and who have never done wrong.

Yes, the old argument the X religious extremists are bad, but that doesn’t mean that X religion is bad. Yeah, sure, the only thing that counts as X religion is that stuff that you picked out that’s made of fluff and cotton candy. Of course, this works only if you ignore the fact that the religious extremists are using the same texts and general frameworks and just picking out different parts to justify their actions. You can’t justify your cherry-picking any better than they can. Live with it.

The only time man pretends he does not need God is when he thinks or she thinks they are themselves God or are in a position of such comfort that God cannot trouble or touch them. Once the man or woman finds himself or herself in deep trouble or despair, they search for what was always there.

Now we’re back were we’ve started. Yes, tell me again, Mr. Richards, how you know what I believe better than I do. And while you’re at it why don’t you also tell me that I pretend to believe what I say I believe because I’m arrogant and think highly of myself. It’s not like assuming you know know better than me isn’t arrogant. You’re not a hypocrite at all. And no, the sentiment of “no atheists is foxholes” isn’t trite and stupid. All atheists have completely perfect lives filled with unicorn farts and lollipops. That’s why they don’t believe in God. If only they had shittier lives so they can see TEH TRUTH.

Conclusion: I. just. sadfja[pkl. Why are some people so full of fractal wrongness?

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The recent conversations about d00ds and feminism at Zuska’s and Dr. Isis’ have been interesting yet full of FAIL because some d00ds just refuse to get it. One of the things these d00ds often refuse to get is why we’re just talking about it instead of DoingSomething™. And this isn’t just used by d00ds who don’t get feminism, the phrase has been repeated over and over and over again by people of privileged groups in discussions of social justice.

As awesome a writer as I am (not), I have friends who are much more eloquent and coincidentally one of them is Learn Hexadecimal who posted a comment in another discussion about just this topic, so I asked him if I could repost it.

Speech is action.

Let me be more specific: every word that is on this page right now is a contribution to the social and cultural gestalt of humanity. Every person who has read these words, or read some of them, or skimmed them, or heard somebody talk about them once, has been affected by them. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. But to dismiss a conversation like this, to unroll a banner emblazoned “Talk Is Cheap” and prance away towards far-off charity websites, is to elide a very important aspect of what it is to be human: that we can communicate, and that our communication can affect others and allow us to be affected by them in turn when they communicate back to us.

I don’t think anyone here actually forgot that fact. It would be kind of difficult. But I never want to hear “virtual virtue” derided as meaningless. It isn’t. It can’t be. Virtual virtue, Internet virtue, is the exercise of virtue in communication. Such exercise is crucial to all other aspects of what it means to be human and humane and good. How can we be virtuous if we never learn what virtue means? How can we be virtuous if we never teach that meaning to others– never discuss it– never remark on its presence or absence in the stories that shape our minds?

Lois Bujold/110, you tell us talk is cheap, and then you demonstrate that it isn’t. You tell us that we tipped you over from intention to action; you tell us that this conversation, this dialogue we’re having right here, had a material effect on your material contributions to one or more causes.

You’re right: holding admirable opinions and doing nothing is indistinguishable from holding execrable opinions and doing nothing. Because if we hold admirable opinions and keep them locked inside our skulls, nobody will ever know about them. But if we hold admirable opinions and talk about them, and defend them in the court of public discourse whose standards of due process you so diligently uphold, we can change other people’s minds. Such a powerful phrase, when you think about it: to change someone’s mind. That is action. That is admirable.

Lois Bujold/121 , I see more of the same. Your stance on falsehood and the provability of motivations, while interesting, isn’t my primary concern at the moment.

Consider this: you ask us to rule our statements in the court of public discourse by the measure of due process, and by that, you mean we ought to read a book before discussing why we don’t like it. Why can’t we ask Patricia Wrede to rule her statements in the public discourse of fiction– and fiction is a discourse; vast, slow, indirect, but a discourse all the same– by the measure of virtuous speech?

And by that, I mean that you are engaging in exactly the task which you imply is cheap and easy and not enough for you. Here we are, expressing our dislike for yet another erasure in yet another place of a people who are erased too often already; here you are, expressing your dislike for yet another case in yet another comment thread where people talk a book down without ever having picked up a copy. It must in some sense be a worthwhile task to you, or you wouldn’t be doing it.

Yes, monetary donations to charitable organizations often have a more concrete, or at least more measurable, impact on issues than words on the Internet. But somebody still has to say those words. Somebody has to say “no, this is wrong, this story has problems”, because if nobody ever does, then the people who write those stories will never realize that they could be doing it better.

You are, if I’m to believe the name attached to your comments, a writer of stories. Realize that you could be doing it better. Realize that everyone you know who also writes stories could be doing it better. In other words, what Stella Omega/133 said.

Fiction_Theory/131, you made a good point extremely well. I’m now in the middle of reading the blog post you linked in the course of introducing that point, and it is a work of further excellence. I encourage anyone whose eyes are passing over these words right now to go and read both of the above; you will be improved thereby.

The context to the post, in case you are wondering (and I hope you are), is a massive FAIL on the part of author Patricia Wrede. Last week, a review of Patricia Wrede’s new book Thirteenth Child was posted and immediatedly is spawned a lot of discussion due to its premise. You see, she wanted to write an American settlement story with MAMMOTHS and other megafauna. That sounds kind of cool and may have made a good book if she had not decided that to do this she had to write Native Americans out of her book’s history. Erasing a group that has been a victim of genocide and who has been marginizalized in US and Canadian history is wrong, unacceptable, and wrong. People rightfully got on her ass and on the asses of all the vapid jackasses defending her or attempting to derail the conversation. Naraht has complied a few links on the topic.

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But it’s too hard…

Last Wednesday, I attended and event hosted by the Hart House Debate Committee on the friction between science and religion. The format was good, and I might steal it for a future events I plan, but otherwise it was boring. One of the two speakers on the religious side, Yiftach Fehige, was possibly the most vacuous person I have ever heard speak. Seriously, he had about as much content as cotton candy (i.e. sugar and air, lots and lots of very warm air).

From what I understood, the event was not planned as a debate, but even as a discussion there was way to much backing down and nothing remotely provocative was said by the speakers. The audience was a bit more daring in regards to provocative questions. When to topic came to the curriculum and what should be taught in schools, everyone agreed that science should be taught in science classrooms. One audience member, however, suggested that maybe when it comes evolution the topic is to “complicated” to teach in schools and so we should just stick to easier topics in science.

Personally, I call bullshit. School and learning, in general, are not about what’s easiest. Yes, evolution is not the simplest topic, but that argument could be used for not teaching anything harder than arithmetics. In fact, I’ve seen it used to argue that calculus, amongst other topics in math and sciences, shouldn’t be taught in high school.

Furthermore, I don’t think the problem is that it’s too hard to teach the basics. In my experience, the problem is that many teachers are ill equipped to teach evolution. If you don’t understand it yourself you’re hardly in a position to teach it, right? But then the solution to this type of problem isn’t to take the subject away. Not teaching evolution in primary or secondary schools will just mean that the next batch of teachers will know jack shit about it too.

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