Archive for the ‘Stuff’ Category
Stupid faitheists act all stupid, again
So it’s getting close to the end of 2011 and like every other group of dipshits in the known universe, science-religion accommodationists are releasing lists of people and things which have warmed their hearts over the past 12 months. Like this one in Religion Dispatches, for instance.
It’s by some guy I’ve never heard of called Paul Wallace who appropriately enough writes at the nauseatingly terrible Huffington Post. Someone who shares a masthead with Jenny McCarthy and Deepak Chopra is trying to tell us the roles of science and religion. That’s cool…
Like most accommodationist propaganda, Wallace’s screed is a mishmash of misrepresentations, unsupported assertions, fuzzy thinking, and uncontrolled rage towards outspoken atheists, all wrapped up in a haughty air of totally unwarranted smugness. I’m going to limit myself to going after the most egregious parts of Wallace’s little list here since more thorough takedowns are already available at Pharyngula by friend of The BEAST PZ Myers and Butterflies & Wheels by the amazing Ophelia Benson.
This year has marked, I believe, the beginning of the end of the war between science and religion. Creationism cannot last. The New Atheists are now getting old. And between these camps the middle ground continues to expand.
Creationism “cannot last,” huh? It’s managed to last just fine for the past several thousand years, but Wallace has enough hubris to claim that it can’t last. Not that it shouldn’t last, or even that it probably won’t last. It just can’t – the physical laws of the universe somehow require that.
Also, the New Atheists are getting old. I’m 30. Gonna be 31 in a week and a half. Is that old? I guess we’re all aging, right? Aren’t even the accommodationists getting older, too? Isn’t that how time works? Maybe if I accommodated more ancient superstition into my worldview I’d have a better grasp of such things.
To recap so far: Christopher Hitchens died and creationism will somehow go with him in the near future, so therefore ANY DAY NOW people will start buying and reading awful fence-straddling books about how Jesus was really an ancient neurosurgeon, but with magic! Are you listening, publishers? Good, let’s continue with some of his “peacemakers:”
8. Jon Stewart, political satirist, for shining light on American Atheists’ frivolous lawsuit against the inclusion of the Ground Zero cross in the 9/11 memorial museum
Wallace’s desperation is really showing here. Sure, I agree with what Stewart (and Murphy, here at this site) said about the AA lawsuit. But The Daily Show does something like 200 22-minute shows a year, and one three minute segment gets Stewart a position on this list? Wallace really wants Jon Stewart to be on his side here. It’s a classic example of confirmation bias. If you’re an accommodationist, you remember the one time Stewart rightfully took American Atheists to task and forget the hundreds of other segments where he’s attacked religion because you’re more interested in coming to the conclusion that Jon Stewart thinks like you than in reality.
Oh, and by the way, what exactly does the case in question here have to do with science? Oh, that’s right, not a fucking thing.
6. Jack Templeton, surgeon, president and chairman of the John Templeton Foundation, for bringing science into the church
In reality, if you look at the list of Templeton Prize Winners (which gets them £1,000,000 each), it’s almost entirely scientists who are then saying nice things about religion, not the other way around. And the exceptions aren’t ministers or imams or rabbis; they’re philosophers and mathematicians. Templeton doesn’t bring science into the church – otherwise creationism might really be as doomed as Wallace seems to believe. It bribes scientists to bring religion into their laboratories.
5. Chris Stedman, interfaith activist and super-swell atheist guy, for decoupling atheism from science, and for being the face of a kinder, gentler atheism
That description sounds like a parody I’d write making fun of people like Wallace, but the thing is that he really means it. He really thinks Stedman is a “super-swell” guy. I’ve already disposed of Stedman here, but this is a good opportunity for an update. Stedman said he would revisit this, but like the coward he is he’s failed to do so yet. All I’ve heard from some anonymous source is that he felt “blindsided” by my article, even though it basically just told the story of how he was lying and wrong on Twitter. So there’s not much to update. He still cites studies which don’t support his claims and then retreats into rhetorical hysterics when called out on it. As long as you’re only doing that to people like Dave Silverman and PZ Myers, it’s fine to still be labeled kind and gentle.
3. All Those People Who Are Not Backing the Ark Park, for keeping the sure-to-be-divisive Ark Encounter from its scheduled August groundbreaking
LOL wut? Wallace explains this bizarre entry further:
All year, I have been watching the fundraising thermometer at the Ark Park blog. It’s been moving really slowly. I wish I had recorded the data as the months rolled by, but it seems safe to say that, at current rates, it will take another five years to meet the $24.5 million goal set by the Ark Encounter masterminds (this is a small fraction of the project’s $150 million price tag). I suspect that’s not what they have in mind; they have publicized an opening date of 2014.
OK, get it? By simply not giving money to this fringe group of lunatics, you’re now a “peacemaker” in the religion-science wars. Yay! Even the New Atheists (You know, the ones whose imminent deaths Wallace is eagerly awaiting) get to join in on his list of super-swell guys and gals.
It’s a total failure that they might need to open in 2017 instead of 2014, I guess is what Wallace is trying to say here. They’ve only raised over $4 MILLION so far, so it must be a failure. I hate to think of the implications of what that means for us here at The BEAST. If only raising $4 million means failure, we’re several million layers below failure at this point. But fear not, readers! Like creationism and Celine Dion’s heart, we will go on.
2. Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, for reminding us that being ethical does not depend on belief in a personal God—nor, particularly, on science
No decent person should turn to the Dalai Lama for advice on what’s ethical. He’s a pompous asshole. So it’s not surprising accommodationists love him.
If you’ve been taken in by the Dalai Lama’s tolerant pose, you should definitely watch this clip from the Australian TV show Jon Safran vs. God. In it the host offers a few quotes from “His Holiness” and asks if they’re from him or the Pope. They all think the quotes are from the Pope. In other words, the Dalai Lama is so backwards and horrible that people can’t distinguish his position from that of the head of an international child-raping criminal organization.
So that’s the distorted view of the “middle ground” this unknown clown imagines. And who is it he wants to build a middle ground between, you might ask. Well, I’ll leave you with a few examples of that, from just the past few days.
I could go on. There are LOTS more of these. Build bridges with these people? Fuck that.
War on Christmas News – Heathen Edition!
We’re getting to that time of year again when the snow starts falling and we all come together in the spirit of harmony and goodwill to wage War On Christmas. But as we get into the serious anti-Christmas fighting over the next few week, we might take a moment or two to consider the less fortunate among us who might not have a Christmas to wage war against. And by that, I mean Hindu and Buddhist fundamentalists.
Not many of us here in the West get too worked up about these two religions. Liberals want to be ecumenical, inclusive, and multicultural, so they tend to withhold harsh criticism of minority (in America, at least) religious views. Conservatives believe Hinduism and Buddhism are just different forms of Islam, so they figure they’ve already got it covered. But what both groups miss is that these religions make claims which are just plain wrong. And those wrong beliefs can lead to some terrible actions.
A couple of recent news items raise this issue. For starters, in India a 14 year old boy was found strangled in a field. His name was Neeraj Kumar, and he was a member of the “untouchable” caste. Except it’s no longer PC to call him an untouchable — and you can touch him, apparently. Now they call them Dalits. It’s still OK (socially if not legally) to have caste system biases in some parts of India. Go figure.
According to the BBC article, the boy’s family had been a-fussin’ and a-feudin’ with a higher caste family, one member of which shared a name with the murdered boy. And as we’ve all learned from The Big Lebowski, having the same name as a rich person leads to conflict. But in this case, most stoners won’t find much humor in it. The rich family had been pressuring the poor family to actually change the name of their children because they didn’t want to share a name with a Dalit, who they believe are somehow lower than them. The good news for the rich family is that they don’t have to worry about associating with someone lower than them because there is nobody lower than them, ridiculous bullshit about karma and reincarnation notwithstanding.
Anywho, the police say that this murder is the culmination of this absurd fight. With a billion people in India, you’d think even the most backwards of them would get used to some name overlap, but I guess not.
Representing Buddhism, we’ve got King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, but you can just call him Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramintharamaha Bhumibol Adulyadej Mahitalathibet Ramathibodi Chakkrinaruebodin Sayamminthrathirat Borommanatbophit. That’s his official title. Seriously. Some insecure guys get sports cars to compensate for their, um, shortcomings; others give themselves insanely long and silly titles.
- “Hey Adulyadej! Is that some kind of goofy hat or did an elephant take a shit on your head?”
Like the caste system in India, the Thai monarchy is justified in religious terms. In the early days it was a mixture of a Hindu emphasis on military power and the teachings of Buddha. The current monarch is a staunch defender of Thereveda Buddhism. Back in the 1950s he became a monk for a couple weeks because one of his relatives died, which is apparently a thing Thereveda Buddhists like to do. He even wrote a book based on a traditional Buddhist story.
Buddhists try to reach what they call enlightenment, for some reason. Enlightenment means you monitor the private text messages of the citizens you rule over and throw them in prison for a couple decades if any of them insult you. That’s what happened to the 61 year old Ampon Tangnoppakul, whose lawyer says doesn’t even know how to send text messages and “loves His Majesty the King.”
Tangnoppakul has a reason to lie, though. This isn’t the first time King Adulyadej has gotten his panties in a bunch over someone saying mean things about him. Back in 2007 the Thai government banned YouTube after it refused to remove videos mocking the monarch. That same year a Swiss man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for dabbing some black paint on the king’s portrait while drunk. Others are currently serving long sentences in prison for such trivial “offenses” as posting pictures or forwarding Facebook messages critical of the thin-skinned dictator. Not standing during the royal anthem is also considered a crime in Thailand on the grounds that it insults the monarch.
The judge in Tangnoppakul’s case found him guilty and sentenced him to 20 years in prison. Tangnoppakul wasn’t there to hear the verdict in person though because as the NY Times article cited above notes, the prison he was kept in was surrounded by floodwater at the time of his sentence. Personally I doubt the authorities had any intention of letting him leave the prison even without a guilty verdict from the judge.
That really says it all when it comes to the Eastern religions which even critics of religion often treat with kids’ gloves. How messed up are your priorities when the government would rather scour the internet for critics (or develop nuclear weapons, in India’s case) than do something about massive flooding to the extent where a prisoner can’t even leave his cell for his own trial? For some reason Hinduism and Buddhism get this reputation as ‘peaceful’ religions, but even a quick glance at the news over the past week or so shows that such a reputation is totally unjustified.
Pamela Geller is this nice Muslin lady who runs an anti-Islam organization with its very own website and everything. She likes to warn us real Americans about the Mohammedans when they’re about to do something illegal, like whistle a call to prayer at a stoplight. There’s always some new and exciting way to be afraid of those Moslems.
With Thanksgiving coming, Geller has spent the past week or so wondering what the best way to connect her McCarthyite crusade to the holiday, like most of us have. And that’s how she discovered that your Thanksgiving turkey is really a Trojan Horse which has been brainwashed by the Prophet Mohammed. Check it:
Did you know that the turkey you’re going to enjoy on Thanksgiving Day this Thursday is probably halal? If it’s a Butterball turkey, then it certainly is — whether you like it or not.
Whether you like it or not, people! You cannot change your dead turkey’s religion just by wishing for a postmortem conversion really, really hard! That is unless you’re a Mormon, in which case you can have a weird pagan ceremony where you baptize your dead turkey along with a few Nazi war criminals for good measure. Anyway, this is a shock to Geller’s audience, who probably also believes in The Secret, Atlantis, energy independence, and extended warrantees too.
So why is Geller the only one very concerned about the Muslim turkeys? Sure, maybe it’s not the most important thing in the world. It’s probably only the fourth most important thing in the world. Geller laments how she seems to be the only one freaking out over this:
Where are the PETA clowns and the ridiculous celebs who pose naked on giant billboards for PETA and “animal rights”? They would rather see people die of cancer or AIDS than see animals used in drug testing, but torturous and painful Islamic slaughter is OK.
Yes, where is PETA? See, this is what separates a level-headed rational person like Pamela Geller from those ridiculous celebs and clowns, of which she certainly isn’t one at all, no, no sir. Why doesn’t PETA have an entire section of their website devoted to the cruelty of this halal slaughter practice including an article titled “The Cruelty Behind Muslim Ritual Slaughter” which anyone with two brain cells to rub against each other and a fraction of a second and Google could find? We may never know.
I kinda forgot about this blog until some obsessed fan reminded me of it. So if one of the tens of people who read this regularly still haven’t given up on it, please do keep it in your subscriptions or whatever. I’m going to try to keep it updated with BEAST stuff and more, but no promises. A few things from the past month or two to follow…
Warren Jeffs, alleged child-fucker and leader/prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints takes time off from his trial to roll out his new advice column here at The BEAST.
Dear Warren Jeffs:
My beautiful wife Jennifer and I just had our first child. It’s been an amazing experience so far, but it’s also had a much bigger effect on our day-to-day life than we expected. Our biggest challenge has been to get a good night’s sleep! She wakes us up constantly, several times throughout the night. And one time when it was my turn to run over to her room to make sure all was well at 3 AM, she was laughing at me when I got there. At least, I suspected that the crying had turned to laughter. Maybe it’s my lack of sleep. Anyway, is my baby being an asshole? And if so, is there anything I can do to change her?
Fatigued in Fallujah
I’m so relieved you wrote to me in time! You’re probably forgetting an important part of the child-rearing process: Waterboard your baby until it stops crying. The next time your asshole of a baby wakes you up, walk over to its crib as you normally would. But the twist is that instead of giving it a bottle of milk or changing its diaper, grab it by an ankle and haul it out to the kitchen. Turn on the faucet – try to keep it close to room temperature, as you would a bottle – and hold its face directly under the faucet. The crying should stop fairly quickly!
Your wife Jennifer, whom I trust is no older than 15, is probably not the best person to do this. Teenage girls might feel uncomfortable or ‘evil’ waterboarding their babies. If this is the case, make a note to start marrying and/or having affairs with teenage girls who are a little more tough-minded. It will pay off in the long run.
Dear Warren Jeffs:
I’m a 17 year old high school senior in Arkansas, and last weekend I was out driving around with my hooligan friends when we were pulled over by the police! Apparently, I missed a stop sign and was going 15 mph over the speed limit. I wasn’t taken “downtown” as they say. Instead, the officer gave me a ticket and told me to appear in traffic court in another 3 weeks. My friends keep telling me to not worry about it and that I’ll probably just have to pay a $100 fine or something since it’s my first offense. But I’m worried! I don’t want to go to prison. I’ll never make it inside. I’ll die before they take me away! What should I do, Warren Jeffs?
Shitting My Pants in Pine Bluff
Dear Shitting My Pants:
Your friends are morons. Here’s what you’re going to want to do: Hire the most expensive lawyers you can find. Obviously, the government is out to get you and destroy your religious freedom because Obama is a socialist. So you’ll need adequate legal defense to make your case. Then, fire them and act as your own lawyer. That’ll really mess with the prosecution’s heads!
It turns out this is not quite enough to get the prosecution to drop all charges against you, so what I’d recommend doing next would be to say absolutely nothing during the trial except, “I continue to reject these continued proceedings.” And say it in a tone which implies that it’s completely ridiculous for any court in the land to act as if it were an authority over yourself. If you lack that kind of confidence, you’ll just have to ‘fake it ’til you make it,’ as they say.
If the so-called authorities for some reason continue to persecute you for practicing your religion (or speeding or whatever), then it may be time to start pretending to be a prophet. This is what I actually did for a living, so it may take some practice for you. Start off by interrupting the judge and threatening everyone involved in the case against you with “sickness and death.” At this point, the judge will probably yell at you for making threats, but the easy way out is to pin the threats on Jesus or God or something, claiming that you were just “relaying the message.” Good luck!
Dear Warren Jeffs:
Recently there has been a string of burglaries in my neighborhood. My neighbors across the street had their TV stolen, and a little old lady three doors down lost all of the gear she stores in her garage for her third-wave ska/punk band. I’m worried I may be next! This makes me nervous since everyone in the neighborhood knows about my priceless collection of mint condition Star Wars action figures. What can I do to deal with the stress and the voices which come along with it?
Panicked in Paris
It sounds like it’s time for you to beef up your home security! What I like to do is to buy a fortified compound in the middle of fucking nowhere, Texas. You’ll be wanting one with an underground vault with thick steel doors. Reinforce the steel doors with about a foot of solid concrete. This will delay the police or robbers when they’re trying to break through it with a jackhammer. Now for the final touch, you should keep meticulous records of all the people who are under your control, say, the closest 10,000 folks or so. This you’ll want to keep away from your monetary funds so you can use it as blackmail against whoever’s trying to rob or investigate you for raping kids.
Do you have a question for Warren Jeffs? So does Judge Barbara Walthier, who’s presiding over his sexual assault trial! What a coincidence.
So it looks like that nice union thug lady defeated Scott Walker’s boyfriend David Prosser in the state Supreme Court election this week by only 204 votes. And our friend Governor Walker (@GovWalker on Twitter – send him an uplifting message, please) is throwing a hissy fit over it:
Gov. Scott Walker said this afternoon that the spring election results show there are “two very different worlds in this state.”"You’ve got a world driven by Madison, and a world driven by everybody else out across the majority of the rest of the state of Wisconsin,” Walker said at a press conference in the Capitol.
The thing about these elections is that they deal with numbers of votes, and wouldn’t you know it but we actually have access to those numbers. So did “everybody else out across the majority of the rest of the state [excepting Madison]” vote for David Prosser? That would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?
But we don’t have to speculate. Here’s a map of the election results, county-by-county:
I count only three counties in one tiny corner of the state where the turnout for Kloppenburg was 35% or less. On the other hand, there are four counties with more than 65% for Kloppenburg, divided into two groups at opposite ends of the state.
Walker seems to imagine that the votes of people who happen to live in lightly populated areas are somehow worth more than the votes of those evil city-dwellers. Unfortunately for him, it just doesn’t work that way.
He also seems to want to believe that the population of Wisconsin is rigidly divided along rural/urban lines, and judging from this map that’s also clearly not the case. There are liberals and progressives out in the sticks and there are conservatives in the cities. But that kind of nuance scares politicians like Scott Walker who like to use this “two worlds” rhetoric to rile up their base. In fact, the “vast majority of the rest of the state” is very close to being 50/50.
UPDATE: An early recount result has Prosser up by 40 votes.
UPDATE II: And now Klopp’s up by 70something.
UPDATE III: A Waukesha county clerk named Kathy Nickolaus found votes on her laptop which may or may not have been added to the statewide totals, which would put David Prosser up by around 7500. If that’s the case, then there probably will be no recount and the conservatives will keep their hold on the WI Supreme Court.
- “I’m going to draw a cock and balls on his car every single day.” A few days later in the parking lot I saw whoever said that was making good on their promise.
- “My girl lost her job, then decided to go back to school. But she doesn’t have any health care, so I said, hey, we might as well get married.” I told him that was very romantic and that it sounded like every little girl’s dream. He agreed without realizing that I was being sarcastic.
- Two guys talking: “So you got the reserved spot this month?” “What?” “You know, the reserved parking spot.” “What? Oh… Yeah, I did.”
- Two other guys talking: “Hey, tell your brother I said hi.” ”What for?”
- “And then he said, ‘Oh, you thought I meant a real pearl necklace?’”
- YouTube: LOL Buffalo St Patrick’s Day
- Village Voice: Inside the Nitrous Mafia, an East Coast Hippie-Crack Ring
- NY Times: The Chinese government is cutting off phone calls when someone says “protest.”
- YouTube: How to Piss in Public (sorry, ladies, this is guys-only)
- Alex Jones: Crazy rant about “children of death.” He starts crying at around 4 minutes, and the last line he got from True Grit.
- Drug War Rant: I’ll take your 21 minutes and lower it to 19 seconds
- TED: Kevin Bales on how to combat (actual) modern slavery
So this is kind of mean, sad, and awesome all at once.
I’m not sure which is more pathetic: being one of the guys suckered into this, or being one of the guys sitting along at their computer watching the madness they caused. At least I know I definitely won’t be in one of those categories.
- Environmental Graffiti: 13 Most Incredible Geological Wonders on Earth
- BoingBoing: Bahrain: anti-government protests continue despite brutal crackdown (big photo gallery)
- Matt Taibbi: Why Isn’t Wall Street In Jail?
- Greta Christina & Ashley Paramore: Heterosexual Questionairre
- BuzzFeed: The 45 Best Protest Signs At The Wisconsin Capitol
- About.com: The Glenn Beck Conspiracy Theory Generator
- Mother Jones: South Dakota Moves To Legalize Killing Abortion Providers
- Nicholas Kristof: What Egypt Can Teach America
- Slashdot: DailyMotion now streaming live news from from Al Jazeera, BBC, and France 24 and others.
- Lawrence Wright: Paul Haggis vs. Church of Scientology
- Danger Room: Kin Jong Il’s 69th Birthday Party Kicks Off
- Wonkette: Dick Cheney Refuses to Answer Questions About Sonic the Hedgehog
- WPXI: Man creates a fire hazard to combat atheists.
- Universe Today: In Case of Jerusalem Video, UFO Could Mean “Unidentified Flashlight Objects”
- Flavorwire: 97 Things You Didn’t Know About William S. Burroughs
- LegalMatch Law Blog: Court Sides With Father: Vaccination in Best Interests of Child
- Cracked Magazine: 8 Real Photographs That Prove Hell Exists on Earth
- BoingBoing: PirateBox, the anonymous, stand-alone wireless filesharing node
- Buffalo Pundit: Local Congressman topless on Craigslist. Yes, of course he’s a Republican.