Monthly Archives: October 2008

Militant Atheism

I’ve been an atheist since I reached the age of reason and I realized that my grandmother’s claims that “there were no dinosaurs” were filthy Christian lies, but recently I’ve decided to become a lot less tolerant of theists. After all, tolerance is counterproductive when the thing you are tolerating has caused more wars and killed more people than anything else throughout history, and when it threatens to weaken society by teaching children myths as facts and restricting personal freedoms.

Much of my inspiration for this choice came from (of course) Richard Dawkins and his An Atheist’s Call to Arms lecture from a while back:

The real impetus for this post, however, came from an atheist blog I’ve been following lately, Pharyngula, and a video by a busty young lady explaining why atheists do, and should, care about the stupid blathering theists do:

I haven’t seen Religulous yet, but I plan on seeing it sometime this weekend.

Know this, if you are a theist, I do not and can not respect you, no more than you would respect an adult who believes in the Tooth Fairy. To me, you are no different than any other insane cultist– something to be shunned and mocked, and maybe to feel a bit sorry for. I will probably leave you alone, as I know there is little sense in arguing against insanity, and I would hope you would extend me the same courtesy, but I imagine you don’t feel the same way.

No, the only threat to you I pose lies in my existence, and that I am not alone.

edit, 2008.10.23:
People seem to be slightly misinterpreting me, here.

Let me clarify by reposting part of my reply from there:

As I’ve said before, people can believe in any nonsense, invisible pink unicorns, flying spaghetti monsters, teapots orbiting Mars, that they want. As long as this belief stays a private thing, it doesn’t affect anyone else, I’ve no problem with it. But as soon as it enters public policy, affecting laws, the way children are taught, or personal freedoms; or as soon as someone decides to go to war over it; it becomes a blight upon society that needs to be removed.

Which is the whole point of militant atheism, really- not to actually forbid people’s private beliefs (who cares?) but to ensure a secular society, one that has more of a basis in science, rationality, and fact than superstition and myth.

Why do believers automatically assume that others always want to convert them, seriously? Not everyone is a missionary. Chances are, if I don’t know you personally and you have no say in my life I really couldn’t care less what nonsense you believe. That latter bit is the important bit: religion should have no say in my life. It can have all the say in your life you want it to, as long as that say is from internal sources, not external (i.e., governmental) ones.

Spreading Virii

I found this bug over at Neatorama, and it warrants spreading.

Curiously, as far as I can tell this company isn’t really selling much of anything. Not much of anything I can see on their website, anyway, and certainly nothing that appears to be worth buying. It seems to have something to do with buying “premium booklets” at a head shop. Certainly not the stuff of infinite nightmares that their advertisement would imply, anyway. Unless of course lung cancer is the stuff that fuels your nightmares.

Nudist Colony of the Dead

Why haven’t I seen this movie yet? It doesn’t appear to be on Netflix, that’s probably a good reason. Must still be a VHS-only movie :(

It seems right up my alley, what with all the sillyness, and the zombies, and the stupid religious zealots getting (I imagine) eaten. Plus, the ridiculous comedy / horror / song mashup seem to be along the same lines as the wonderful Cannibal! The Musical, which, as you may know, I loved.

Here’s one of the musical numbers, which I found today on ectomo, and which prompted this post:

Edit: Found it on DVD!

Roller derby!

I went to a Roller Derby match for the first time ever today, to support Beth, who is co-captain (Cruisin’ B. Anthony). I went alone, because most of my friends who I asked to go suck. I did end up seeing Will there though, who doesn’t suck.

But no matter! It was still fun! And we won, 115-96. Here is a crummy quality cell phone video I took of part of the first period:

Look! Circles! Listen! Cheering! No one flipped out and killed anyone or broke anything in this segment, but things like that are hard to plan.

Anyway, I was told by two separate people that I should try out for the team (none of who were on the team, of course). There may be something to that, as this is probably one of the few sports where lack of depth perception really doesn’t matter. Now if only I were better coordinated…

Vote, dammit!

Seriously, if you don’t register to vote, and then actually vote, you deserve whatever shite state of affairs we wind up with. Not that the current mess we are in isn’t bad enough, but all that could have possibly been avoided if things had gone differently 8 years ago. So please please please don’t let them keep going the way they are going.

Here’s some inspiration!

Via Pharyngula, a Rolling Stone article on McCain’s sleazy past. Excerpts (emphasis mine):

This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.

At least three of McCain’s GOP colleagues have gone on record to say that they consider him temperamentally unsuited to be commander in chief. Smith, the former senator from New Hampshire, has said that McCain’s “temper would place this country at risk in international affairs, and the world perhaps in danger. In my mind, it should disqualify him.” Sen. Domenici of New Mexico has said he doesn’t “want this guy anywhere near a trigger.” And Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi weighed in that “the thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He is erratic. He is hotheaded.”

The myth of John McCain hinges on two transformations — from pampered flyboy to selfless patriot, and from Keating crony to incorruptible reformer — that simply never happened. But there is one serious conversion that has taken root in McCain: his transformation from a cautious realist on foreign policy into a reckless cheerleader of neoconservatism.

“He’s going to be Bush on steroids,” says Johns, the retired brigadier general who has known McCain since their days at the National War College. “His hawkish views now are very dangerous. He puts military at the top of foreign policy rather than diplomacy, just like George Bush does. He and other neoconservatives are dedicated to converting the world to democracy and free markets, and they want to do it through the barrel of a gun.”

In the end, the essential facts of John McCain’s life and career — the pivotal experiences in which he demonstrated his true character — are important because of what they tell us about how he would govern as president. Far from the portrayal he presents of himself as an unflinching maverick with a consistent and reliable record, McCain has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to taking whatever position will advance his own career. He “is the classic opportunist,” according to Ross Perot, who worked closely with McCain on POW issues. “He’s always reaching for attention and glory.”

In fact, his own statements show that he has been on both sides of a host of vital issues: the Bush tax cuts, the estate tax, waterboarding, hunting down terrorists in Pakistan, kicking Russia out of the G-8, a surge of troops into Afghanistan, the GI Bill, storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, teaching intelligent design, fully funding No Child Left Behind, offshore drilling, his own immigration policy and withdrawal timelines for Iraq.

But perhaps the most revealing of McCain’s flip-flops was his promise, made at the beginning of the year, that he would “raise the level of political dialogue in America.” McCain pledged he would “treat my opponents with respect and demand that they treat me with respect.” Instead, with Rove protégé Steve Schmidt at the helm, McCain has turned the campaign into a torrent of debasing negativity, misrepresenting Barack Obama’s positions on everything from sex education for kindergarteners to middle-class taxes. In September, in one of his most blatant embraces of Rove-like tactics, McCain hired Tucker Eskew — one of Rove’s campaign operatives who smeared the senator and his family during the 2000 campaign in South Carolina.

Throughout the campaign this year, McCain has tried to make the contest about honor and character. His own writing gives us the standard by which he should be judged. “Always telling the truth in a political campaign,” he writes in Worth the Fighting For, “is a great test of character.” He adds: “Patriotism that only serves and never risks one’s self-interest isn’t patriotism at all. It’s selfishness. That’s a lesson worth relearning from time to time.” It’s a lesson, it would appear, that the candidate himself could stand to relearn.

And now on a more entertaining note, here’s a music video about McCain’s near-octogenarianism (via Laughing Squid):

Which is relevant, of course, because if McCain wins, once he kicks it, we’ll be stuck with Palin as president. Then we’ll be even worse off, for different reasons- Instead of having a self-serving aggressive liar, we’ll have a dim-witted superstitious puppet.

Another Take on Me

Here is an alternate version of Take on Me, in which the lyrics describe the action. This has always been one of my favorite music videos, so I can’t really say I like this version more than the original, but I do like it enough to blog about it, so I guess that’s something.

Via Laughing Squid