Sunday, February 26, 2012

Muslim Beats Up Obnoxious Atheist - So?

Making the rounds lately is the news that an atheist in a Zombie Mohammed costume got smacked around by an upset muslim. There are a variety of reactions to it so far, ranging mostly from "This is a violation of First Amendment rights!" to "This is just showing the further islamicization of American law!"

Allow me to add my own reaction to the mix.




There. Got that out of my system. More below.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dawkins Smacked Again - Slavery Links

Hot on the heels of his fumbling Darwin's book, Dawkins gets outed as having slave-owning ancestors.

Not much to be worked up over, normally, though considering this is Dawkins and the sort of crap he regularly stoops to to gain headlines, why not enjoy the fun?

I enjoyed the quip about how maybe Dawkins has a slave-owning gene he inherited. Of course, Dawkins also fired back that he had anglican clergy in his family tree, so perhaps he could be accused of having a genetic predisposition to piety as well?

Which makes me wonder... well, why not? No one would suggest that a gene makes one more likely to be a Christian in particular, but general religiosity - particularly, the traits the Cult of Gnu loves to associate with religiosity? Why not? After all, Dennett suggested that Marxism was either a religion or, at least, a proto-religion. Certainly Cult of Gnu atheism can qualify in principle, if we're going to work with that entire line of reasoning.

Either way, apparently some journalists have decided to soften Dawkins up prior to the Big Atheist Ho-Down next month. It's a change of pace.

Edit: And now Dawkins' little weaselly "I'm an agnostic technically so I can avoid saying I make positive claims" move bites him in the ass, with the big headline being 'WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS ATHEIST SAYS HE CAN'T RULE OUT THAT GOD EXISTS'. Now, as Vox said, Dawkins is being semi-consistent here - this whole '6 out of 7 certainty' schtick isn't new to Dawkins. On the flipside, that doesn't prevent me from getting a grin out of Dawkins flailing around on this. Especially given his past antics and his general approach to these questions.

If you're going to play the soundbite and mockery game, don't cry foul when once in a great while the same game is played on yourself.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I'll Take "Most Important Books Ever" for 250, Alex!

Hey, do any of you guys know what book that Darwin guy wrote? The popular one, I think he wrote it after he spent years walking his pet beagle. On the Origin of... Origin of...


Can't think of it.

Man, I want to know this, I hear it's important. We just got done celebrating the bastard's everything on Sunday.

Wait, who's that jackass with the hair? Smarmy, british accent, acts like he knows everything? Sorry, that's not narrowing it down, ha ha. Uh... he used to be a biologist, gave that up to write books and... Dawkins! Dawkins, that's the guy. I bet he'd know.

Here, someone asked him this recently. Lemme read the transcript.

Fraser: Richard, if I said to you what is the full title of The Origin Of Species, I’m sure you could tell me that.
Dawkins: Yes I could.
Fraser: Go on then.
Dawkins: On the Origin of Species…Uh…With, oh, God, On the Origin of Species. There is a sub-title with respect to the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life.

Nevermind. Guess it ain't an important book after all.

("On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life." actually. Flubbed it, struggled, and then missed the natural selection part? The part Dawkins himself never shuts up about, arch selectionist that he is? And doing so right after he cockily assures the interviewer that of COURSE he'd know the title? The main point of all this is that Dawkins is the perfect representative for the Cult of Gnu.)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Is An Atheist's Rights Violated in the Case of Mandatory Prayer?

Let's imagine a ridiculous situation - suddenly, some town somewhere makes it mandatory that each class day begin with a communal prayer. All students must recite this prayer. For fun, let's make it Catholic - the Hail Mary.

Would the protestants have reason to be upset? Sure they would, since (at least for most protestants - maybe there are some exceptions) a prayer asking Mary to pray for us would violate their beliefs.

Muslims? Absolutely, for similar reasons.

Atheists? The instinctual response, I think, is 'absolutely' - along the same lines as the muslim or the protestant. But I don't think this works at all. In fact, at least insofar as we're considering the atheist as an atheist, the answer seems to be 'not at all'. If the atheist is going to have reason to complain, it's not going to be owing to being an atheist.

After all, atheism is pretty thin on belief content. If we play the game where atheism is the mere lack of a belief, then clearly 'lack of a belief' isn't going to motivate one to be offended by or unwilling to partake in a prayer. At worst, it's some kind of busywork.

Let's go with the stronger, and more accurate definition of atheism: belief that God does not exist. Okay, that's sturdier. But it still doesn't help. So they believe God doesn't exist - that isn't enough to make reciting a prayer noxious or offensive. Pointless, perhaps. Or maybe not. It could even be something they enjoy. Maybe they'll find the idea conveyed in the prayer beautiful even if they don't think it's "doing anything" or reaching anyone.

But the atheist, as an atheist, doesn't seem to have reason to complain. Maybe not even legal standing.

Now, that's not to say you couldn't come up with an atheist who would argue, properly, that the prayer is offensive to them. Say, they have a belief that prayers are stupid or... etc, etc, and that belief is being violated. But it seems to me it would actually have to be a lot more developed than merely "I'm an atheist!" or even "I'm a naturalist!" What would be necessary is an appeal to some kind of belief system they subscribe to - or, I suppose, something merely emotional. "I don't like praying, and that's that!"

I don't have some major aim or goal with pointing this out. It's interesting to note the situation, which I think can be parleyed further - an atheist as an atheist wouldn't necessarily have a problem even with a full-blown theocracy. In principle, they may even be in favor of one. Actually, I'd love to see an atheist complainant defending their complaint in a court of law. It's easy to picture the muslim appealing to their religious beliefs, the protestant appealing to his religious beliefs. The atheist? I could just picture the lawyer inquiring as to just what religious beliefs of theirs were being offended. What the violation of conscience was in the case of an atheist compelled to pray. I'm sure they could give one, but seeing it justified in that context would just have some potential for fun.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Obama Waging War on Catholics Specifically & Religion Generally

Here is a link to the US Council of Bishops, where you can fill out a letter urging your senators and congressmen to help stop our idiot president's assault on religious freedom.

This isn't just a Catholic thing. This is a calculated attempt to secularize - not pluralize, but secularize - as much of the country as possible. All religious belief is to be checked and walled up in the name of the secular state, in Obama's world.

Caring for the poor and sick is being redefined as a strictly secular activity.
Running a business is being redefined as a strictly secular activity (see my recent post on Capitalism to see why this is not the case.)
Living a public life is being redefined as a strictly secular activity.

I don't care if you disagree with the Church's stance on abortion or contraception. The rights of believers to live according to their beliefs - to live PUBLIC LIVES and perform public roles according to their beliefs - is long-standing and reasonable. Fight them on this. Sign the petition. Do not let us become a nation where religious belief is actively suppressed more than it already is.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Komen Foundation's Abortion Cancer Makes Comeback

Well, they backed off and are now right on back to giving their funds to Planned Parenthood.

And I'm right on back to not giving them a damn penny. If any good has come of this, it's that the event drew attention to the foundation throwing money PP's way. They won't be throwing mine - I'll avoid those pink ribbons like the plague.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Komen Foundation Cures Itself of Abortion Cancer

Those pink ribbons are freaking everywhere. Let's say that right away. I can't go into the grocery store without seeing a tremendous number of them

I was unaware that the Komen foundation had any ties to the baby choppers, but it seems that that association is now at an end. Good for them. I'll drop some of my extremely meager finances on them to support their decision.

Naturally, this is leading to some amusing freakouts among abortion sanctifiers - complete with full-on attacks against the Komen foundation. Attack one being 'this is all political' (So what if it is?), attack two being 'the foundation's founders are tied to the Republicans anyway'.  Because, I don't know. Apparently the plan is 'if people know that the charity for fighting breast cancer is headed up by Republicans, people will... associate Republicans with fighting breast cancer!'? And of course, you have people talking about how now they're 'going to think twice' before donating to Komen's foundation. Because that's the price of their donation - silent or active endorsement of the Blood Sacrifice.

What's interesting is that it's not like this is a change in the core mission of the foundation. They just are distancing themselves from the chop shops, which they weren't supposed to be about to begin with - this was about breast cancer first and foremost, supposedly. I suppose the followup comment is, "Or was it?" The accusation is that the Komen Foundation's decision is all about politics. But man, the maneuvering from the Planned Parenthood association and their lackeys sends off the vibes that this was all about politics from the start for them. It's not the politics they dislike - it's the wrong politics.

Here's hoping the Komen group stays the course on this one. With effort, it's only going to be the first of many organizations telling PP to take a hike.