Monday, August 31, 2009

The best evidence that shows God does not exist

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(Note – Edited as of 11:35 PM, when I came across a better way to phrase my original thoughts.)

I've been thinking alot lately about "evidence" for God's existence (and the inherent lack of it), and now I've finally determined what I believe truly is the ultimate, irrefutable bit of "proof" (or as close to proof as it gets) for demonstrating, once and (perhaps) for all, that God doesn't exist. (Note that this only applies to the Christian God of the Bible, though I suppose it could also apply deities from similar molds).

Of course, the Christian God is, by all means, "perfect": knows all (omniscient), wields unlimited power (omnipotent), is everywhere at once (omnipresent), and most importantly, loves all (omnibenevolent). These are the qualities that are predominately set forth via the Bible (disregarding the contradictions for a moment) – which, remember, is regarded as being his own Word. Everything in that holy book is the perfect truth: immutable, never wrong, etc.

With that framework in place, I now present you, rather than a laborious explanation from my part, a famous quote from the Greek philosopher Epicurus:

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"

Many of you will have heard or read this before. It's likely; my only problem with it is, how come it isn't spread around as widely as it should be?

I mean, just think about it. This short little paragraph contains what I personally consider to be the ultimate "proof" that God doesn't – or at least, can't, judging from the very Bible he declares holds his own Word – exist. It's perfect.

"Evil", as is used in this quote, represents all things dark, horrible, painful, tragic and suffering: death, torture, destruction, war, rape, what have you, that exist in the world. All the things that keep his Creation from being a true "heaven-on-Earth", so to speak.

I've heard several arguments against this, and as far as I can tell, they all fail for varying reasons. Most of them, unsurprisingly, are variants of that old maxim, "The Lord works in mysterious ways" and so forth. That he and his methods are ineffable, that we little humans cannot comprehend the might, the scope, the [etc.] of his plan. Okay, I'm willing to go along with that – no-one claims to be perfect to to understand things that, for now at least, cannot be understood by the modern human mind. (And I'll neglect to elaborate over how odd it is that a perfect God needs to be so sneaky as to keep us all in ignorance about plans. Even if he were afraid we might undo them should we learn, that's a moot issue as, seeing as he and his plans are inherently perfect, we couldn't undo them no matter how hard we tried.)

But what I have a hard time following with this argument is how, even if we humans cannot always understand God's logic, God seems notoriously willing to defy even his own logic as set forth in the Bible. Examples are too numerous to detail here; just take, for example, how despite supposedly loving everyone equally and completely, he seems remarkably quick to deliberately inflict suffering, destruction and death upon his people – burning down cities, flooding the entire world, and so on. It's one thing to allow humankind's inherent capacity for evil and dark deeds to run rampant, basically allowing humans to harm themselves, but to intentionally kill and torment his own beloved people via his direct actions – burning them, flooding them, etc. – makes it sound like he has a horrific case of Bipolarity. At best.

Another argument I've come across is this one, from Makarios:

This, I believe is perhaps the single greatest reason for why God allows suffering and tragedy to take place. These things solidify our opinions about God. Suffering causes us to either reject God or humble ourselves before God.

Anyone who reads into this argument will quickly realize how patently absurd it is. It is wrong on numerous levels: it implies that God intentionally inflicts suffering and tragedy to force us humans to form an opinion of him (as if we were unable to form opinions of him, or anything else, otherwise); it implies God is desperately seeking his people's views of him (which is a surprisingly needy trait from a supposedly omnivalent deity); it indicates that he is willing and able to inflict torment upon his supposedly beloved people (which is cruel); it also implies that we can only form a concrete opinion of him when we're undergoing suffering and tragedy (which ... just doesn't make any sense at all).

Yet another argument I've heard, actually comes from my own mother[1] (though I'm certain many would think along the same lines). To put it in short, she said that perhaps the reason God would allow pain and suffering amongst his own beloved people, is basically to let them "evolve" (as in spiritually, morally, etc.), to let them learn from their own mistakes as they grow more and more advanced and sophisticated.

I'll admit that at first I was honestly stumped by this comeback (she often does get me when I don't expect it, hee ...), but the more I think about it, the more I realize it doesn't hold up to God's logic, either. Remember that this is an all-loving God, as well as one who's all-powerful (tired of hearing me repeat that already?). It would be obvious to any thinking person that any God who is able and willing to "impose" a perfect world upon his people, one that is without fear, pain, destruction and suffering – without evil, basically – would be expected to do so. Not doing so would be pointless; why allow his creatures to slowly (very slowly) evolve their ways into lesser evil and suffering, when he had the power to instantly end it all and give them safety and happiness? What good reason could their possibly be against this? Not doing so at once would only indicate he actually enjoyed watching humans spread suffering amongst themselves as they (ever-so-)slowly evolved ... or else, that he simply didn't care. Which are two traits that would instantly tear down the Christian image of the perfect and infallible God.

God simply cannot exist if he violates the very rules of logic and sense he himself supposedly established in the Bible (his Perfect Word). If there's anything he cannot do, he's not omnipotent. If there's anything he wouldn't do for the benefit of his beloved people, he can't be called omnibenevolent. If he doesn't know everything or is surprised by anything, then he's not omniscient. And so forth.

I happily invite any Christians who are patient or bored enough to be reading this blog (much less this post) to enter the comments section and tell me why, exactly, God would allow evil to run rampant amongst his Creation and people if he was both willing and able to eradicate darkness and misery. I welcome a debate – I've been missing a good one these days.

[1] Keep in mind that my mother is very strongly anti-religious, perhaps even more than I am, and absolutely does not believe in the Christian God (though she does believe in such things as the Law of Attraction ...).

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Obama wants to cut off your penises!

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Or such is the latest insane claim from the right-wing kooks and demagogues. Currently, the CDC is merely considering adopting a policy that would promote and encourage circumcision, on the basis that it reduces risk of disease (which is proven, anyway).

Now, run such information through the wingnuts' filters, and you get this:

Ed Morrissey of the conservative blog Hot Air writes, "If the CDC -- which is part of the same government that will control health care -- decides that circumcision is beneficial and cost-efficient in the long term, that same mechanism would create pressure on doctors and patients to perform them."

I don't think Morrissey could've chosen a more aptly-named blog to write on.

As the author himself states:

Morrissey's argument has the same basic flaw that animated the "death panel" fears: an inability to distinguish between advice and force. If this CDC proposal goes into effect, it, like the now-dead end-of-life counseling proposal, would make available some valuable medical advice. There's nothing on the table to penalize doctors who don't circumcise newborns, or parents who decline the procedure. To have a "mechanism [that] would create pressure on doctors and patients," you need, well, a mechanism. Morrissey can't come up with one. [My emphasis]

Pretty much. But, just for the heck of it, I'd be remiss if I didn't include some more blabbering from the odious gasbag of the radiowaves, Rush Limbaugh:

But when was the last time that stopped these guys? Two days ago, Rush Limbaugh claimed, "It is President Obama who wants [to] mandate circumcision ... And that means, if we need to save our penises from anybody, it's Obama."

I do hope they keep their government hands out of Limbaugh's pants – we'd hate to see the global average penile length drop by half, wouldn't we?

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

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Balko bitchslaps 'Police Women of Broward County'

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Remember those horrible ads for that horrible Police Women show? It's the focus of Radley Balko's latest column on Reason Online – and he's not happy with it. Nor should you be.

"There's always a good time to use a Taser."

So says Andrea, attractive single mom and one of the four stars of the new TLC reality show, The Police Women of Broward County. The trailer with the Taser quip then cuts to the show's stars tackling suspects, putting knees into various backs, and pointing guns. Browse other clips on the TLC website, and it seems the network can't make up its mind whether these women are sexpots with handcuffs or girls who want to be taken seriously for kicking just as much ass as the boys. A smug poster ad campaign for the show takes the the show's identity problem to yet crasser heights. One ad reads, "Taser Time." Another, "Cavity Search, Anyone?"

Of course, there isn't "always a good time to use a Taser," as the multitude of viral web videos depicting taserings of grandmothers, pregnant women, and children will attest. TLC's ad campaign is offensive, though merely the latest iteration of a genre of television that trivializes the state's use of force and makes a mockery of the criminal justice system.

He then talks about the plethora of SWAT shows and other "reality TV" cop shows that basically showcase cops' work as being nothing more than a suite of shootouts, chases, raids and assaults, a procession of shit slowly but steadily leading down to the pits of today with Police Women of Broward County.

Police Women is yet another show geared for the couch-potatoes at home who actually enjoy watching police women's work be trivialized (and sexualized) as merely a routine of stand-offs and drug raids, leaving out all that "boring" cop work (you know, like 90% of it?). I don't know about you, but this is one show that'll never be attracting my viewership – unless I need something to sneer and get riled at.

(via The Agitator)

It's Mock Religion Video Day here on Preliator!

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Or so it seems to be. Thanks to a never-ending supply of satirical vids, here's your latest: Jim Gaffigan on religion (particularly Christianity). Sweet stuff.

(via Friendly Atheist)

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"So all Catholic Bibles are printed on paper made from the shit of priests who fuck kids in the ass?"

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This is just as brilliant as it is extremely – exceedingly – not safe for work.

Aaand we just gave Bill Donohue half-a-dozen heart attacks.

(via Pharyngula)

Britain's answer to Ken Ham's Creation "Museum"

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It may be on a much smaller and relatively innocuous scale by comparison to Kentucky's monument to failure in science and honesty, but Noah's Ark Zoo Farm is likely to be just as potent to the young, malleable minds who course through, attracted by the cute animals and drawn in by the creationist forces that dwell within.

Paul Simms of New Humanist takes the tour and offers us a closer look.

Set in the glorious North Somerset countryside just outside Bristol is Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, a “unique zoo and working farm”. The clue to what’s “unique” about it is in the name – it’s a creationist zoo run by a Christian couple, Anthony and Christina Bush. At first sight the welcome gate, marked by a colourful sign featuring a pair of giraffes and a rainbow, looks innocuous enough. And judging by the scores of young families queuing to get in when I visited in mid-August, it certainly appeared to be living up to its claim to be “one of the South West’s top tourist attractions”, without any overt proclamation of religion.

But the zoo’s owner Anthony Bush seems in no doubt that there is a moral, didactic purpose to the enterprise. “From the outside, our farm is not overtly Christian,” he once told the Church Times. “But, from the inside, we are very strongly Christian. I am a Creationist, and we see the farm as a mission station to give people scientific permission to believe in God.”

While some creationist parlors like to be loud & proud about their particular brand of "education", most actually prefer the method depicted here: sound harmless (and even credible) enough to attract unsuspecting people, and then expose them to creationist materials and "education".

The full account is a lengthy and interesting one, so head on over and read it. Here, I'll just showcase a couple of pics that Paul Sims took for us to examine and laugh and/or cringe at.

So ... we know for certain the Ark existed, because we ... have its measurements? I don't suppose those could've been, say, invented, right?

Ah, again with that ugly Creationist Hamite theory of racial origin. Ham must've been one bad kid to have led to all those "impure" races. (PZ also touched on this a while back, which (predictably) earned him the ire of Ken Ham – can't have his precious silly notions criticized, can he now?)

Hang on ... is this repeating that utterly, hilariously stupid claim that before the Flood, all life was vegetarian (poor carnivores) ... or did it just call our ancestors impotent?

And of course, the grand finale: you just can't be a creationist parlor without some good ol' Darwin-bashing.

Make no mistake: despite external appearances as being a "functioning farm" and a zoo with plenty of admittedly cute animals (you just can't go wrong with those), this is a Creationism hive intended to spew kookery, crankery and generalized scientific failure and dishonesty as much as its means allow. What's even worse, is how it is not only fully supported by organizations promoting the "best zoos", but is also geared to attract children in large numbers, already accepting (and encouraging) school field trips and the likes. Just as with the cool dinosaurs at Ken Ham's "museum", the cute animals and the playground – yes, the Zoo Farm has a playground, complete with slides, the whole surrounded by creationist material – Bristol's Noah's Ark Zoo Farm is evidently a place suited best to bring in the young influenceable minds and corrupt them from a young age. It deserves no more respect than does Kentucky's Creation "Museum".

(via Friendly Atheist)

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Monday Grainy Cuteness: Com'on, Mom, wake up already!

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Oh sky cake, why are you so delicious?

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Comedian Patton Oswalt elucidates the great mystery of the origin of religion for mankind.

Pfft. Screw cake. I want a sky bowl of these.

(via Friendly Atheist)

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Stupid Quote of the Day: Comfort on criminal responsibility

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From Ray Comfort, who accuses someone of not thinking too deeply and thus makes an ironic statement to crush most others:

As far as I know, you are the only one who has ever said to me that it is entirely unjust for someone else to pay for crimes of which another is guilty. I have to conclude that you made this statement rashly, and without too much thought. There is nothing at all unjust about any father stepping in and paying a speeding fine for his son. It happens all the time, and the judge has no concerns of where the payment comes from, as long as it is lawful money.

I just made a dent in my desk with my forehead.

Google and its infernal corrections ...

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Oh, dears.

... Can't seem to find a non-racist or ambiguous comment to put here.

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"We've broken into your car and stolen your stuff to teach you about theft. — London Police"

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In a renewed effort to both drive home their anti-theft message and the idea that Britain is turning ever more into the Orwellian state it's so intent on becoming lately, London cops have taken things even further than before by entering unlocked vehicles, stealing taking personal items of value (laptops, coats, whatever) found inside, and then leaving pleasant little notes informing the the vehicles' owners when they return that they can retrieve their stolen taken possessions at the local police precinct.

The initiative has been launched in an area where theft from cars has been rife.

"We have had a bit problem with thefts from cars, so we decided to be a bit more innovative," said Superintendent Jim Davis, the officer behind the initiative.

If items are needed urgently, police will return the goods immediately.

"We want to stop people from being the victims of crime," he said. "We are not talking about £3 in loose change in the glove compartment, we are talking about cameras, laptops and expensive leather jackets. People would be far more upset if their property really was stolen."

Be that as it may, I still think they might wanna start gearing up to face several rather pissed victims beneficiaries of these "anti-theft thefts". The point is still that people's cars were broken into and they stuff was taken; even if it's the cops who've taken them, it's still a bloody waste of time to get them back, is it not?

I'd also point out their wording when they said that "if the items are needed urgently, police will return the goods immediately". How nice – but not so much for those who don't need their goods "urgently", I suppose. They'll just have to sit in the waiting room and twiddle their thumbs before cops deign to hand their stuff back to them, then?

Whatever they're trying to achieve, I do think there are likely more efficient – not to mention, ethical – methods of sending their message home than to take people's belongings and forcing them to spend hours to get them back. Some of those people actually do have lives, you know.

(via The Agitator)

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Excusing police misconduct in Frisco

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The San Francisco police chief is proposing an amnesty plan for officers that have been charged with various types of minor misconduct, basically telling his own cops that while they can't do anything really big or mean, insulting others or "minor" incompetence and the likes are acceptable.

Discipline cases against dozens of San Francisco police officers would be dismissed under an amnesty program proposed by Chief George Gascón.

The new police chief told The Chronicle on Wednesday that he wants to see "the great majority" of roughly 75 discipline cases pending before the civilian Police Commission end with little or no punishment for officers accused of minor misconduct.

Those cases, he said, include charges such as use of inappropriate language, being discourteous, failing to properly fill out a police report or a first-time misdemeanor drunken-driving arrest. They would also most likely involve first-time offenders rather than officers with a long history of complaints against them.

"We don't get anything out of taking a pound of flesh," Gascón said.

Yeah, you do. You give officers who work for you the idea that there's an actual code of professionalism and discipline in place to keep their loudmouthed and lazy tendencies in check. Not doing so sends them the message that they can do any minor infractions they want, just as long as they don't actually get into big trouble, and they'd be excused.

(via The Agitator)

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Penn & Teller take on the Vatican – and it's a colossal win

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I'm not one for shows with excessive vulgarity, which I consider to be the mark of immaturity or a lack of depth. Thankfully, Penn & Teller seem to have that precarious balance between expletive-filled outrage and actual discourse – and in this case, they take on the Vatican itself. If you're gonna see only one video this week, this should be it.

Very little that's new ... but it's always interesting (if not infuriating) to hear, nonetheless.

(via Pharyngula)

I'm all for the Establishment Clause, but this is just silly

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation is an imminently respectable organization trying valiantly to uphold Separation from Church and State throughout America, but occasionally it goes after targets that even I, a devout secularism promoter, think is simply overkill. In a letter of protest, the FFRF is now demanding that the Petoskey Public Schools in Michigan remove the naming "Christmas break" from the school calendar, which had recently been renamed from "Winter holiday break".

On Aug. 18 during a closed session, the school board voted unanimously to change the wording of the school calendar from "Winter holiday break" to "Christmas break." That was eight days after the board treasurer, Jack Waldvogel, sent an inflammatory e-mail to district staff and board members. Either make the change voluntarily, Waldvogel said, "or I will make a motion to change it at the NEXT Board meeting, and raise such a stink, and bring out every redneck Christian Conservative north of Clare, to compel the District to do so." The e-mail also said: "Our children need to know we are a Christian nation and taking all reference to a higher being out of our educational vocabulary is wrong."


"Changing the wording to Christmas break so that Petoskey school children know that 'we are a Christian nation' violates the most basic and fundamental principles of Establishment Clause jurisprudence," said Rebecca Kratz, FFRF staff attorney, in a letter to the district.

Now, anyone reading this with two critically-thinking neurons in their brains will likely pick up on a few key phrasings and words that, to me at least, strongly suggest this may be a bit of a joke; Waldvogel himself admitted that his eMail was meant "tongue-in-cheek" (despite the eMail ending with the statement, "Don't assume this is a joke. I'm being as serious as I possibly can here".

But whether this is all a little bit of jest or not isn't what I'm getting at. What I mean is that, frankly, I couldn't care less if they, or anyone else, called their winter break "Christmas holiday". Christmas is a word that's become synonymous with holidays and winter vacation, far more than it has with religion or Christianity, especially in these modern times. Anyone complaining about "Christmas season", or Easter, or anything of the sort (and it's happened plenty of times, to my consternation) is really getting bent up over nothing.

As long as they don't name the break "Worship the Holy Father God and Jesus Our Messiah Days" or anything overtly religious of the sort, I really couldn't care less what wording they chose, and nor should any reasonable person.

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

In which I steal the Blag Hag's post as my own

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Though at least I credit her. Jen from Blag Hag elucidates some of the stuff that I believe most atheists such as I have been trying to explain to other non-theists (particularly accusatory Christians) for eons, yet rarely succeed in doing, either out of pure laziness, of 'cause most of us (by which I mean, I) suck at phrasing such things adequately:

I don't get too many overtly religious comments on my blog, but since I read all the comments you guys leave, I do read the occasional "you're wrong, love Jesus" remarks. I have no problem with people disagreeing with what I say - I don't pretend to be infallible or anything. But recently someone commented with a religious remark that I hear all the time and is a big pet peeve of mine (emphasis mine):

"...See the whole picture. There is plenty of proof there is a God, but you need to see what you see and believe what is clear. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen." So... there is evidence... look for it and you will be satisfied. ..."

The old "you're just not looking hard enough" idea. It drives me nuts, particularly because I hear it over and over. They don't claim God is making it difficult for me to believe in him or anything - I'm just too lazy or in denial to see the truth. One, it's an ironic statement since it usually comes from the very same people who deny scientific facts in order to support their faith, and make no effort to actually understand said science. The vast majority of people who don't believe in evolution don't even know how to define it.

But the main reason it bugs me is because it implies atheists haven't tried. Most atheists were at one point religious, and many of them had religious experiences that theists would say were evidence for God. They, however, realized such experiences were just their mind playing tricks on them or pure human emotion, not some supernatural force. And often those people take a long time to actually become atheists because there's a period where they investigate their faith closely and look for proof of good. And you know what? They don't find any. Are they really not looking hard enough?


The idea that atheists aren't trying to find truth is mildly insulting, honestly. We're not sticking our fingers in our ears and screaming "LALALA GOD IS DEAD" every time someone tries to present religious "evidence." No, we listen, think about it, and then (so far) come to the conclusion that it's all bunk based on reason and facts. I say "so far" because I, like others, am open to the idea of God if given real proof. Our lack of belief isn't based on faith or hope. We aren't wishing that God doesn't exist, or going around ignoring all these pieces of "evidence" theists claim to have.

On the contrary, this is exactly what most theists do. The commenter said it himself: "Faith is the substance of things hoped for." It's not based on truth, it's based on your desires. If you desire a God, your mind will start creating "evidence" to support your position. That doesn't make the evidence true or real. Think of it like flirting. Sometimes you're so infatuated with someone, that you interpret every smile to mean that they like you back. It's because you desire that they like you, and you start looking for things to confirm this - not necessarily because they actually do.

So Christians, we have been trying. Maybe your God isn't too keen on giving us any evidence, but until I see it, I'm remaining an atheist. What does he have to do for me to be convinced? I don't know, but if he's all-knowing, he can surely figure it out.

This is one of those exceedingly rare cases in which there's nothing I disagree with and have nothing more to add. It's all there, and it's perfect. Miss Jen, you've just won yourself 100 Internetz pointz. Use them wisely.

(via Blag Hag)

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After the Birthers, the Afterbirthers

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The Onion is running a little parody of the kooks who refuse to believe Barack Obama was actually born in the U.S., despite endless evidence demonstrating so and their own "evidence" constantly backfiring in their faces (which you'd think they'd take as a hint ...). Unfortunately, it isn't nearly as funny to me as it should've been.

WASHINGTON–In the continuing controversy surrounding the president's U.S. citizenship, a new fringe group informally known as "Afterbirthers" demanded Monday the authentication of Barack Obama's placenta from his time inside his mother's womb. "All we are asking is that the president produce a sample of his fetal membranes and vessels—preferably along with a photo of the crowning and delivery—and this will all be over," said former presidential candidate and Afterbirthers spokesman Alan Keyes, later adding that his organization would be willing to settle for a half-liter of maternal cord plasma. "To this day, the American people have not seen a cervical mucus plug, let alone one that has been signed and notarized by a state-certified Hawaiian health official. If the president was indeed born in the manner in which he claims, then where is his gestation sac?" Keyes said that if Obama did not soon produce at least a bloody bedsheet from his conception, Afterbirthers would push forward with efforts to exhume the president's deceased mother and inspect the corpse's pelvic bone and birth canal.

Somehow, this little satire hits just a little too close to home for comfort.

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

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Shoulda done some background digging first ...

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Just a few hours ago, I posted my thoughts about the video showing how Pastor Steven L. Anderson from the Faithful Word Baptist Church, was viciously tasered and beaten by border patrol at a checkpoint when he merely (and nonviolently) demanded to be known if and why he was being arrested.

The thing that shocked me the most, as was alluded to in my previous commentary on the issue, was the extreme amount of vitriol and hate the man attracted to himself in the YouTube comments to his vids. At first, I thought it was merely because he had the sheer gall to disobey cops who wanted to search him when they had no business doing so; but such amounts of bile were indicative that something else was definitely at play here. What had Pastor Anderson done to attract such hatred?

It seems I should do some Googling of people's names whenever I use them. I might get some better background info, then.

It turns out Pastor Anderson is indeed one nasty piece of work. Just to give you a taste: he uses imprecatory prayer in wishing death to President Obama (it must be fun, wishing for someone's death yet merely claiming, "Hey, it's not me, it's God who wants him dead ..." as a fallback to deny wishing for someone's demise), praying for gays and lesbians to be put to death, and etc. Really sweet stuff, isn't it?

Now, in my original post, I strongly defended the Pastor (whom I yet knew nothing about) and decried the horrific brutality that had been brought down upon him.

You know what my learning about him and his horrible, twisted beliefs changes in my views and reaction to what happened?

Absolutely fucking nothing at all.

Yes, he may be one nasty preacher – aren't they usually so? – but why would that change anything? Why would his beliefs, as wrong, filthy and amoral as they may be, make the cops' tasering and beating him any less atrocious? That's it – it shouldn't.

If you expect to implement reason and fairness in this world, one of the crucial notions to realize is that such reason and fairness apply to absolutely everyone, no matter how we may feel about such persons as Pastor Anderson. Seriously; it'd be Osama bin Laden they were electrocuting and hitting around like that, and I wouldn't oppose what they've done any less (though perhaps only because my disgust for that bit of filth has dissipated over time and lack of exposure). I shouldn't. Moral righteousness and socio-legal fairness can't be applied only to those whom we deem deserve them. They must be absolutes, applicable to every living human being on the planet, no matter who they are, what they believe, or what they've done. Doing anything otherwise makes us nothing more than massive hypocrites.

Anyone who agrees to extend rights to freedom, justice and fairness to those who "deserve" it, and not to others, deserve it not for themselves, as a quote from my very own Random Quotes section states, and damn straight, too.

Edit (02/07/12 5:21 PM ET) – Fixed broken link.

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Top 10 craziest child preachers

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Here is, perhaps, the strongest reason for which I dream of religion's eradication from our world: so shit like this will stop.

There is no excuse, no defense, no justification imaginable, for corrupting a child's innocent mind like this. The worst is the last one (the toddler at #1 who walks around denouncing abortion, I believe he is) ...

This is beyond words, except for one: disgusting.

(via [GBG] Atheist News)

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Get drunk for boobs!

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Lest you call me a perv, just check this out:

Lame acting, perhaps (though I liked the guy), but the rest of the video redeems itself, both in message and humor.

Speaking of which: you can make an advance donation here.

So, go on – get these guys stoned for boobies and titties around the world! (It's for a good cause this time! Honest!)

(via Friendly Atheist)

Pastor asks what's going on – then gets tasered, beaten and jailed (without an answer)

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First of all, I do not know who Pastor Anderson is. I do not know who he may be affiliated with, or what he might've done. But I do know that if these videos are reliable, then he's got a major case of police brutality to flog around.

Police fascism is alive and well in America, I see.

I've been seeing (especially over at the YouTube comments) people accusing the pastor himself of this and that, of being a wingnut, of not "doing as he's told", etc., and some particularly vile fucks even whining that he should've been tasered some more. Seriously ... what the fuck is wrong with people like that? Okay, so the guy was a bit stubborn and refused to cooperate. But, hey, you know what that's called? As he put it himself: "standing up for his rights"! In particular, his right not to have his possessions ransacked and strip-searched for drugs that weren't there without a warrant. I don't care what the hell sort of checkpoint it might be; it'd be a military checkpoint, and still if someone came up and demanded to check my possessions, they had better be carrying a warrant, or else this set of wheels is screeching off.

Even then, him disobeying and refusing to submit his car to a search might've been against the rules. Okay. But please, I invite anyone to explain to me how that is, in any way, a reasonable cause for the incredible brutality that followed (tasered, car ransacked, viciously beaten, then jailed)? All he deserved was some tongue-lashing, and maybe a ticket or citation or whatever the hell it is they hand out in these cases. Being sent to the E.R. (literally) sounds a wee bit like overkill to me.

Pastor Anderson then wrote up a little poem. It's a nice one, methinks.

Whatever the guy may have done (or not done), the cops' reaction and handling of the situation was irrevocably, provably wrong, vicious and horrific. No sane human being can dispute that. Unless something else was going on here that I'm just not picking up on, he didn't deserve to have his face bashed in, his car vandalized and his possessions searched without a warrant. These "checkpoint cops" are rising ever more into the territory of "thugs". (Thus, joining the rest of them.)

(via Skeptical Eye)

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Obama administration refusing to free prisoners who've been cleared of all charges

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Obama and his administration are forever slowly but surely sinking in my esteem. In their latest attempt at acting just like the very administration they sought to distance themselves from, the administration is now obstinately violating court orders in refusing to liberate numerous cases of Gitmo prisoners who've been cleared of any charges they had against them, effectively rendering them innocent in the eye of the law.

Obama administration officials on Wednesday boasted that they'd secured agreements from six European countries to accept Guantanamo detainees, although the United States itself has still refused to free any Guantanamo prisoners on U.S. soil. But since President Obama's inauguration in January, the administration has not released a single prisoner to Yemen, although that country is willing to have them back and many would be happy to go there. (Some prisoners from other countries, such as the Uighurs from China, cannot be returned to their home countries for fear of persecution.) The administration has not stated its reasons, but said only that the State Department is negotiating with the Yemeni government over the prisoners' return. At least three Yemeni prisoners since April have won their petitions for habeas corpus in federal court -- meaning a judge has ordered that the government must let them go. (The government has cleared for release an unknown number of others.) So far, though, the Obama administration has not complied with those court rulings.

The United States has long been reluctant to return Guantanamo detainees to Yemen, where al-Qaeda is believed to be active. As a result, of about 550 prisoners released from Guantanamo by Bush officials, only 14 were from Yemen. But that trickle has slowed to a complete halt under the Obama administration, despite court rulings that the government hasn't shown the men have done anything wrong or present any security risk.

Nearly 100 of the remaining 223 detainees at Guantanamo Bay are from Yemen. A government official on Wednesday said that negotiations are ongoing. Now that two U.S. federal courts have ordered at least three Yemeni prisoners freed, however, it's not clear under what power the United States can continue to hold them.

"We appreciate that the United States has security concerns about Yemen, but continuing to hold these men without charge is morally wrong, is in violation of court orders, and it's handing al-Qaeda a recruiting tool," said Letta Taylor, a researcher for Human Rights Watch who wrote a report on the Yemeni detainees' situation in March. "It creates its own sets of risks."

The standoff between the court and the president in the Yemeni prisoner cases is another example of the executive branch ignoring the orders of the federal judiciary. In previous court cases, the government has refused to turn over evidence that it deemed a "state secret," for example, even after a federal judge ordered the evidence be disclosed.

"The way our system is supposed to work is that if a federal district court orders that a branch of the government do something, they're supposed to do it," said John Chandler, a lawyer in Atlanta who represents al-Adahi in his court case and won his order of release on Monday. "I have every hope that they will. But they haven't done anything yet. And he's not the first one to be ordered released."

In April, Judge Ellen Huvelle granted the habeas corpus petition of Yasin Muhammed Basardah, a Yemeni who was known to have provided information -- often found to be unreliable -- against other Guantanamo detainees. As a result, he faces security risks wherever he's released.

And in May, Judge Gladys Kessler ordered the release of Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed, a Yemeni man arrested seven years ago as a teenager. The Pentagon claimed he was a terrorist based largely on statements from other Guantanamo prisoners whose testimony the judge deemed unreliable, as well as bits and pieces of other circumstantial evidence that Judge Kessler found were too "weak and attenuated" to support his continued detention.

Despite the federal court orders to release them, both men are still at Guantanamo Bay. And many more Yemenis have been cleared for release by the U.S. government, although in a strange twist, the government refuses to say how many and their lawyers are forbidden from divulging this information to the media. Among them is a 38-year-old orthopedic surgeon captured in Afghanistan in January 2002, who the Justice Department announced in March that it had cleared for release. Two more Yemeni prisoners at Guantanamo apparently committed suicide, according to the government.

Maybe the administration is hoping the inmates will just all kill themselves. That way, they wouldn't be anybody's problem anymore.

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

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Another innocent teen dead ... another law protecting the kooks who let him die

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Zachery Swezey, a 17-year-old from Carlton, Washington, recently died from what was revealed to be a burst appendix. Anyone who's ever been through an appendicitis will know, very vividly, just how agonizing it is. Take PZ Myers' account of it, for example:

I had severe appendicitis as a child, and their description of it is mild: sure, there was vomiting — like an acid geyser firing up your throat. They don't even mention the agony and the fever and the intermittent loss of consciousness.

Sounds fun. Like liquid fire bubbling in your chest and sporadically spurting out.

Now, back to Zachery Swezey. You see, his situation, which started seemingly mild enough, quickly went from bad to worse. What his parents originally thought was food poisoning or the flu quickly progressed into something far worse, and soon enough Swezey was effectively on his deathbed. What's more – his parents knew this full well.

But what's more still – they didn't do a damned thing about it. They literally left him there to die in agony ... whilst trying faith-healing.

The day his son died, Greg Swezey told sheriff's investigators he knew Zakk would die 10 or 15 minutes before the teenager passed away. His condition had gotten much worse about an hour and a half before Zakk died, he told the investigators, and he realized Zakk was exhibiting some of the symptoms of death he'd seen when older church members died.

He did not consider calling an ambulance, he told them. But both he and his wife told investigators that they gave Zakk that option, although it was not clear from records when the choice was offered.

Right. Because allowing kids to determine their own healing and medical methods has thus proven to be such a good idea.

So, he chose not to call an ambulance and have his son, whom he knew was in his last throes, rushed off to the hospital for emergency life-saving treatment. Nope – instead, he did what any sensible believer in faith-healing does: he phoned some other kooks from his church (the Church of the Firstborn (warning: obnoxious website)) so they could hurry on over and ... splash the kid with oil and pray.

Yeah, that sounds terribly effective. Too bad so few of their patients survive to tell the tale of how these miracle magicians saved their lives.

So, we have a case of faith-healing-believing kooks who had more love in their dogma and ridiculous beliefs than in their own son, and decided to let him die a slow, exceedingly painful death rather than use modern, endlessly-proven medicine. As bad as that is, it's however not the worst thing about this whole sordid affair. No; what's worse? These sorry excuses for "parents" will likely never see the courts telling them just how stupid they were, as Washington, usually accredited as being one of the more sensible states, actually has a law on the books that specifically covers such cases and relieves Christian faith-healers (but not kooks from other religions) having to face justice.

Most states, including Washington, have child abuse laws that allow some religious exemptions for parents who do not seek medical treatment when their children are sick.

Washington's law specifies that a person treated through faith healing "by a duly accredited Christian Science practitioner in lieu of medical care is not considered deprived of medically necessary health care or abandoned." Other religions are not mentioned.

This law is a travesty on any number of levels. First, there is no such thing as "Christian Science". Christianity, and anything about it, is not scientific. It is the exact antithesis of the methodical study of the world that is science. I wonder what it means to be "duly accredited" in Christian "Science".

Also, the law is wrong in many other ways: it allows (Christian) faith-healers to do whatever the hell they want in terms of pronouncing silly incantations and splashing vapid substances over their patients (or "victims", rather) instead of requiring patients to undergo actual medical treatment; it then allows these kooks and supreme quacks to escape justice when their patients victims eventually expire from neglect and lack of proper care; it's cruel to patients who may be subjected, perhaps against their will, to such lack of proper healthcare due to their family's faith-healing beliefs; and, on a lesser level, it discriminates against other religions (which, in itself, is probably grounds for having it knocked out of the lawbooks).

Seriously, Washingtonians, you need to get this travesty-of-a-law off the books. Quacks, kooks and nuts need to face justice when they allow their ridiculous beliefs to come before the lives of their own children (or anyone else for that matter). For anyone who's ever died because of bullshit like this – for Kara Neumann, for Zakk Swezey, for the countless other unnamed – tear that law down and stop unneeded deaths like these from ever happening again.

(via Pharyngula)

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Friday Canine: Three can play at that game!

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(via Happy Days Boarding Kennels)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What sort of fine would only result in you erupting in laughter?

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This one: a Denver city panel on drugs (specifically marijuana) is recommending that the fine imposed on those caught possessing pot be lowered to ... one dollar.

I know, I'm laughing too.

If Denver's presiding judge accepts the recommendation from the Denver Marijuana Policy Review Panel, the fine would be the lowest in the entire nation for marijuana possession.

The panel was created by Mayor John Hickenlooper in December 2007 after voters passed an ordinance that made it so adult marijuana possession is the city's "lowest lawn enforcement priority."

In May 2008, the city attorney's office made it so those cited for the crime can mail in their fines instead of having to appear in court. At that time, the city attorney's office assigned the value of the fine at $50.

"By setting the fine at just $1, we are sending a message to Denver officials that the era of citing adults for using a less harmful drug than alcohol is over. It's simply not worth the city's time or resources," said panel member and SAFER Executive Director Mason Tvert, who coordinated the successful Denver marijuana initiatives.

This is just bloody brilliant. However, not all are for it and, as you could expect, the chief opponents are – of course – cops:

Lt. Ernest Martinez with the Denver Police Department is also part of the panel and voted against lowering the fine.

"There's no indication that there's a problem with the fine schedule," Martinez said. "The panel is going outside the bounds of the language of the ordinance."

Martinez thinks there should be more dialogue about the changes.

More dialogue? Okay, I start: why do you insist on banning marijuana when it is completely and utterly devoid of danger; when the total deaths related to pot, from consumption during driving or overdosing and such, amount to exactly zero; when it is as dangerous to the user and people around him as smoking grass; and when the police obviously have far more important things to do than to pursue and prosecute people who smoke the utterly harmless drug that is weed?

I'd like a response to that ... Too bad I won't get one, will I?

(via The Agitator)

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Battle of the nuts: Ann Coulter vs. Joseph Farah

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It's a case of an insane right-wing nut criticizing a slightly more insane right-wing nut, as Ann "attention-whore" Coulter aggravates WorldNutDaily's Joseph "need-brain-pleeze" Farah in not only refusing to believe the particular nugget of kookery that is the "birther" movement, but also accusing Farah and the WND of merely pushing that craziness for popularity. (Because, in the realms of the loonisphere, advertising stupidity and ignorance is sure to boost your reputation – whilst sinking it like a 10-ton anvil everywhere else, naturally.)

Farah felt the need to defend himself and his shitty excuse for a news outlet, and so he begins his column with a truly amusing sentence:

WND provides what I believe to be the broadest forum of political commentary anywhere – not just on the Internet, but anywhere.

You've got to be kidding me. The only way WND could be more deeply entrenched in the realms of the far-right wingnuttia is if it were nailed and soldered there.

Here're the "vicious personal attacks" that Farah took such an issue with:

"not one known conservative public figure or publication believes this – except WND, which I believe is pushing it to get website hits, bc no sane person could believe it – but the MSM keeps interviewing the nuts to make all conservatives look crazy and to distract from the serious problems with obama."

Seriously, that's some awfully tepid stuff. Not something you'd expect a "thick-skinned journalist" like Farah, as he calls himself, to get bent up in a huff over.

And so, the whining begins:

It really grieves me that Ann Coulter dismisses the one real investigative news agency's work and relies on warmed-over pabulum from the American Spectator and an unknown blog. There's a reason the American Spectator is named as such. It is a spectator when it comes to news. It is simply untrue that the Spectator found the birth announcements during the campaign. The first known source of the newspaper birth announcements was a pro-Hillary Clinton blogger in the summer of 2008.

Coulter's problem seems to be her contempt for real reporting – unless it is conducted by a pedigreed "conservative" source. Unfortunately for Coulter, as a lifelong journalist involved in investigative reporting for 30 years, I can tell you there is no such animal as a pedigreed "conservative" news outlet that does real investigative reporting. Apparently WND is just too "independent" for Coulter's trust.


To suggest we did this – that I did this – "to get website hits" and "that no sane person could believe it," is really hitting below the belt. I have grown to expect that sort of insult from the insanely jealous Michael Medved and the delusional Keith Olbermann, but not from Ann Coulter.

Oh, boo-hoo. Send yourself some flowers. Seriously, what the heck did you expect? Coulter's made her entire "profession" out of insulting others and making disparaging claims. Hell, she's said it herself: she's just out to get reactions. (Which, in my mind, inherently voids anything she has to say, if her focus is to get people to react rather than to actually spread good, valid information and news ...)

I also like his amusing referral to WND as "the one real investigative news agency". Think I might've choked on the donut I wasn't eating, there.

He also brings up the incredible 300 stories ("incredible" as in "Jesus, got nothing else to write about?") he and his rag have published over the past few months concerning the birther movement and all the "evidence" (which keeps failing spectacularly and hilariously) as though it were a beacon of success or any form of valid achievement, when in reality it merely confirms – hugely – the fact that WND is hopelessly biased and, frankly, obsessed with the birther nonsense. I love it how he then tries to deny that they truly believe it or show any bias – he's just said it, right there: "It would not be inaccurate to say that WND's 300 groundbreaking stories on this topic rival the world of all other media combined.". Your own words, Farah. Remember them well.

Though, in the end, you can always count on a feel-good reconciliation full of mushy-wushy feelings:

But, you know what? Even though Coulter's gossip hurts, I forgive her. She's been a good friend for many years. Her good work overshadows what I hope is a momentary slip. I fully expect Ann Coulter will toast me one day for pursuing this unpopular story when no other news agency would. That's just the kind of gal she is. And that's just the kind of guy I am.

How the delusion runs so very deep. "One day", Coulter will be remembered as an attention-seeking wingnut who'd sell her own mother if it got a reaction, and Farah will always be regarded as one of the most passionate kooks who ever lived to spread their insanity in a "news outlet" ('cause you just can't use those words to describe WND with a straight face).

Just curious: whom do you pick as being the more insane?

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Calculating the mathematical probability of God's existence

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This is actually rather neat. Blackblade has pulled together a little equation of sorts (or whatever the proper word is; mathematical terminology is not one of my strong points) to calculate how likely it is that God exists, from his agnostic point of view.




Historical and documentary evidence



Objective, reproducible evidence






Logical Derivation



Moral Absolutism/Relativism (ethics vs ethos)



Lack of any directly observed interaction




Interesting. I'll admit I don't know what the bugger he means by "logical derivation", but otherwise, quite an accurate scale. Although, the end result – "18%" (17.5% to be exact) – still seems a bit high. I'd settle it somewhere in the 5-10%, and no more. But that's just me.

(via Vox Popoli)

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So God will forsake Kentucky to terrorists now?

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You know, we atheists (and reasonable, unindoctrinated folks in general) keep telling people that American politics are filled with Christian religious bullshit, but no-one ever seems to believe us. Here's just another example: Kentucky has a law that requires the state Department of Homeland Security to thank God for protecting the state from terrorism. Seriously. Sure, it's Homeland itself that keeps the state safe, but thank God anyway, right?

Well, wrong, as I actually mean Kentucky had such a law – it's just been struck down as unconstitutional. Hooray for reason!

A judge on Wednesday struck down a 2006 state law that required the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security to stress “dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the commonwealth.”

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate ruled that the law violated the First Amendment’s protection against the establishment of a state religion. Homeland Security officials have been required for three years to credit “Almighty God” in their official reports and post a plaque with similar language at the state’s Emergency Operations Center in Frankfort.

What will Kentucky do now that it's violated its praise in the flying sky fairy? Rely on its own people and safety personnel to keep them safe instead of a fictional deity? That's ... so unfair!

It's not all sensible, however:

Attorney General Jack Conway defended the law in court, arguing that striking down such laws risked creating a secular society that is wholly separated from religion.

Tell me how that would be a bad thing in any imaginable way?

(via Pharyngula)

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I don't think Vox understands marital rape ... or marriage, or rape

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This post from Vox Day in which he refutes the concept of "marital rape" is one that perpetuates my hypothesis that he really just doesn't have the slightest clue of what he's talking about. See for yourselves:

The Bahamas consider a legal oxymoron:

"I think the bill is a very good thing because I believe that a husband can rape his wife. No is no. I don’t care if you’re married or if you’re not married. No is no, and once you force yourself on someone, whoever it is, it is rape. I agree with the bill 100 percent," she said.

First, there is no such thing as marital rape. Once consent is formally given in public ceremony, it cannot be revoked; the form in which marital consent is revoked is well-established. It is called divorce.

Um – no, Vox. This "consent" you talk about is the one where the woman agrees to marry the man. She consents to the legal union. It is not the same as consenting/agreeing to have sex with him every single time he has a fancy for some screwing. If the girl says "no" but the guy makes her have sex with him anyway, against her will, then this is called "rape", regardless of their legal relationship. And, seeing as it's rape between a married couple, it's thus "marital" rape. See the distinction?

It just gets worse:

If the husband or the wife has no more claim to the spouse's body than anyone else, then the marital vows are meaningless and the marriage is a charade. Once consent is withdrawn, the marriage has ended.

If a woman wishes to preserve her right to sexually reject a man at will, she has a perfectly viable means of doing so. Don't get married. It's really not that hard. But, once married, neither husband nor wife has the right to reject the other's marital claims.

As is evident in reading these disgusting writings, Vox is the kind who believes that a woman who agrees to marry a man has basically signed herself over in her entirety, in heart, mind and body. I don't see how that's any different from her being a mere possession, or even a slave – but then, claiming that Vox is one for women's rights is, to put it mildly ... far-fetched.

Republicans go apeshit over the concept of accountability for torture

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Now that things might actually be going somewhere in the prosecution of the thugs who legalized torture (under the guise of "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques") with Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement that a "preliminary review" will be conducted to examine the general lines of what happened to those detainees with all that waterboarding and such, you can reasonably expect Republicans to go simply ballistic as they try so very hard to stifle the truth, ignore justice and escape accountability.

Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Kit Bond (R-Mo.) called the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate whether CIA operatives broke the law when they used harsh interrogation tactics a “witch hunt targeting the terror fighters who have kept us safe since 9/11.”

“With a criminal investigation hanging over the agency’s head, every CIA terror fighter will be in [cover your ass] mode,” Bond continued.

Except that the CIA has always been in "cover-your-ass mode" from the very beginning of this affair, since the days of the Bush administration when torture was essentially legalized thanks to cowardly loopholes.

It's nice to see him compare this to a "witch hunt", though. Can't have people who actually broke the law and committed torture actually face justice, can he? These crooks did most certainly not "keep us safe"; they didn't do shit. They were thugs and nothing more, thugs who clearly enjoyed the suffering they were inflicting upon those inmates and who knew full well (unless they were too damned stupid to realize it) that torture simply doesn't work outside the realms of 24.

Calling these "interrogators" (or rather, "torturers") people who "kept us safe" is the equivalent to saying Saddam Hussein was a freedom fighter. They did nothing of the sort, and cased far more damage than good.

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

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Are you a believed-er?

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I am.

As are, I assume, a majority of atheists.

(via Friendly Atheist)

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You think fast food is gross? ... You're right

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Just in case you needed reminding that fast food is shit:

Seriously ... that just looks ... diseased.

Now that you've purged your stomach contents onto your keyboard (and sorry 'bout that, BTW), you should be safe to go explore the rest of the ghastly discrepancy between fast food marketing and the real world.


(Doesn't this count as false advertising or something ...?)

(via Skeptical Eye)

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Best. Line. Ever.

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From Bill Maher's August 21st column on HuffPo, comes the single funniest and all-around noteworthy bit of text I've ever read:

But what did Obama actually say to make Karl Rove's head explode and the popcorn fly out? Cover your children's ears: When he was asked if he believed in American exceptionalism, he said he did, the same way "the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks in Greek exceptionalism." Yes, our so-called president actually said people in other countries might like their countries better. I was so shocked I nearly dropped the Bible I was using to help me masturbate into my gun.

That's it, he wins teh Internetz for the next six months. (Check out the rest of his editorial, along with all the others he writes – not always correct, but usually spot-on.)

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Who needs liberty when you've got ... well, nothing else?

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Just because I'm evil: here's a video to remind you, and make you agonize at, just how contradictory America has become.


(via Skeptical Eye)

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How does an atheist-free America sound?

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It sounds like what's illustrated in this video.

As for those wondering how many of these assertions (atheists have lower abortion rates, higher average literacy, higher average income, etc.) can be true, the answer's really quite simple (and obvious): atheists tend to be smarter. Yet, let's not fall into the "correlation-vs.-causation" trap; I'm not saying being an atheist makes one smarter. It's the other way around, basically: smarter, more educated people (see scientists, doctors, professors, etc.) tend to be atheists.

(I like the video's music, too.)

(via Forever in Hell)

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Will all the lunatics line up for the presidential elections, please ...

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My, how God has influence over the fools and kooks, even to the point where he could direct them to launch presidential campaigns. First with Michele Bachmann, now Hannity is also announcing that he'll run for president – if God tells him to, of course.

Egged on by radio colleague Bill Cunningham, Hannity said he would consider entering the front lines of the political fray if God directs him.

"I've never made a decision in my life without - whatever destiny God has you've got to fulfill it," he said. "I'm not sure that's my destiny."

Hannity would make a formidable candidate, with the likability of Reagan, good looks and strong convictions. He's also a polished communicator and knows the issues inside out.

You can credit that last bit of idiocy about Hannity having the slightest idea what he's blabbering about most of the time to the fact that it's a WorldNutDaily article, but the rest is definitely interesting. So, we have Palin, Bachmann, and now Hannity who claim they'll run for president as soon as their tyrant in the sky gives them the thumbs-up ...

Man, blogging fodder just never stops coming from the loonisphere, does it?

Just for fun, hinschelwood commented at Ed Brayton's post on the subject with a very neat little poem:

Ode to Sean Hannity
by John Cleese

Aping urbanity
Oozing with vanity
Plump as a manatee
Faking humanity
Journalistic calamity
Intellectual inanity
Fox Noise insanity
You're a profanity

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

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More backing testimonials about America's Christian military – and a hint of worse things to come

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A few days ago, Ed Brayton posted an eMail he'd been sent from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (which I then covered) from a Captain who'd been forced to go through all sorts of loathsome Christian religious shit, from forced to eat food he doesn't want, to attending "voluntary" (which is code for "mandatory") prayer sessions, and then being accused of just wishing for his comrades' deaths when he refused to do so. As horrible as that story is, it's now even being confirmed by another officer, who came across Ed's post and then sent him an eMail:

I am another officer in our Christian military. I am currently serving in Baghdad and came across your post. I couldn't agree more with what was said. It's a sad state that I never expected when I signed up, and is one of the factors that has contributed to my decision to leave the military next May when my commitment runs out.

As revealing as that is, it's just a small excerpt of the full eMail. As it turns out, it's quite a bit longer in full, and includes a picture Ed chose not to display for reasons he best states himself (and this is seriously noteworthy):

But now we've got evidence of even more than that. I'm not going to reveal what it is now because I have forwarded it on to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and I am going to allow them to go public with it first and use it first for their work behind the scenes with Pentagon officials. Suffice to say that they got very, very excited about the picture that I sent them. I got an immediate response saying, "You have no idea how important this is and how perfect the timing is." So stay tuned. Hopefully before the end of the week you'll have all the details.

You've already got me hooked, Ed. But I gotta say – what more could we learn that isn't already known about the military's horrendous Christian leanings and proselytizing? We've got testimonials, news reports, all that stuff ... What the hell could be even worse? I, for one, await the reveal with anticipation – and a certain amount of apprehension.

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

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