Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Attorney General Gonzales Lies to Judiciary Committee

I hear that the White House is beginning its search for a replacement for AG Gonzales. They are leaving no rock unturned.
For those of you who are unsure why Gonzales had to go, the video above exemplifies one of the many reasons. Anyone interested in Gonzales' resume? Just follow the trail of slime.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


(There aint no such thing as a free lunch)

When talking about religious organizations, this cuts both ways. Yes, religious groups exchange community services for the opportunity to recruit and yes, they use these services as advertising copy to solicit donations. Still, if secular opinion (what I think of as “reality”) ever replaces god belief and afterlife mythology, what infrastructure (if any) should be put in place to fill the social mission of organized religion? Anarchists and Libertarian types might argue that these social programs are undesirable, and should not be institutionalized, especially as part of the government. They have a point. Such programs often resemble a lottery system at best, and a path to power and influence peddling for a petit bureaucrat at worst. Here’s the “but”. There are many children of poor circumstance. These circumstances are usually beyond the control of these children. Not all of these children are going to be top athletic or academic performers, so they will have to find a more difficult “way out” of poverty. Sometimes a little thing can make a big difference. Sometimes it is just knowing that you are not ignored by society or a cultural group, that somebody cares what happens to you. All these children grow up. Not all will be good citizens. If the socialization and nurturing factors are missing in the family, and the neighborhood is full of negative influences, how should society at large handle the situation?

Picture from here

Monday, August 13, 2007

Off on a Reading Jag

Feel free to join me. Serialized novel available here.

Here's an excerpt. I'm sure they won't mind a little free advertizing.

"Are you a religious man, Benjamin?"

"You have to understand," Jordan said. "I grew up in the Holy Land."


"No, I have no use for religion."


"Do you want me to be blunt?"

"I do."

"From what I've seen, Karl Marx got it wrong. Religion isn't the opium of the people. It's the LSD."

"What do you mean?"

"Opium numbs and tranquilizes. LSD inspires psychedelic visions—and violent delusions. It drives people to acts of destruction—and self-destruction. It seduces people with the promise of enlightenment, but it robs them of the ability to think for themselves."

"That's an awfully cynical way of looking at it."

"As I said, I grew up in the Holy Land."

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Because I couldn’t say it any better….

Here are two arguments against complacency toward, and respect for, religious beliefs. The first one from evanescent is quite detailed.


“It is ironic that the most farcical anthology of myth, rumour, lie, superstition, and fairy tale should become the most important subject on earth today, but it is. I personally wish I’d never heard of religion. I personally wish all religious people (in all fairness many of them do) would just get on with their lives and leave the rest of us alone, but oh no, that can’t happen. Rest assured that although Christians and Muslims will bleat and moan and cry injustice the moment one of their myriad undeserved privileges has been rolled back to an even footing, or somebody somewhere has the temerity to question belief or not take them seriously, the moment a non-believer raises an objection to having someone else’s mental disorders rammed down their throats, not only do the Faithful act like the long-suffering victim, other non-believers actually side with the Believers, jumping on the politically-correct bandwagon, wanting to play it safe for, heaven-forbid (pun intended) they offend the religious.”

The second one is a lot shorter and more sharply pointed.

Why Does Faith Deserve Respect?

The comments on the evanescent post are quite long, and feature a slightly better than average duel between the blog author, his readers, and a reasonably articulate religious troll going by the name of Geno. He is more well-mannered than most, but ultimately descends to the same old canned talking points and pouty-lipped hurt feelings. They just don’t seem to understand that guilt-tripping only works on followers and the easily manipulated. One fresh talking point seems to be an assertion that Richard Dawkins condones child molestation because on page 317 of The God Delusion he states,

“Once, in the question time after a lecture in Dublin, I was asked what I thought about the widely publicized cases of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Ireland. I replied that, horrible as sexual abuse no doubt was, the damage was arguably less than the long-term psychological damage inflicted by bringing up a child Catholic in the first place.”

Apparently, if you agree with him, you also are condoning child molestation, or at least are saying that you would rather have your child molested than go to Sunday School. Aside from being a false dichotomy, it is indeed arguably more harmful long-term to be indoctrinated into religion.

A Christian religious indoctrination:

Introduces its victims to the wonderful world of ritualized mass hypnosis.

Makes its followers believe that they live in a cartoon universe, populated by angels, demons, ghosts and ghoulies. A world where the all-powerful SuperAlphaDaddy runs the whole show, and can make people from dirt, or crap out a skyscraper if It felt like it. Meanwhile, some demon with a red butt, horns and hooves prances around and acts like a total jerk, pissing on people everywhere.

Teaches people to believe that their inner dialogue is some freaky spirit-world communication.

Teaches people to believe that anything good in their lives comes from outside themselves, from SuperAlphaDaddy to be precise, and anything bad comes from irredeemable flaws in their own character.

Teaches people to believe that those who do not share their beliefs are evil, possessed by demons, necessarily corrupt, or otherwise non-human.

Teaches people to believe they are defective, and that they should live in shame because they are human.

Teaches people to believe that they should mind each other’s business and be judgmental, all the while pretending to teach the opposite in one of the most insidious examples of Orwellian doublespeak.

Teaches people not to take responsibility for their actions (God told me to/The Devil made me do it).

Teaches people to believe that they are victims of a vast power struggle wherein they are puny and weak.

Teaches people to automatically defer to Authority Figures, and in some cases treat fanatical and morally bankrupt CONTROL FREAKS as God-by-proxy.

Teaches people to believe that mankind is not able to formulate cogent morality and law for itself without help from the god of a Bronze Age nomadic culture.

Teaches people to believe that prayer works, and that they can get what they want simply by groveling hard enough.

Teaches people not to question authority, and to feel shame for any deviation from the group mentality.

Tells people what to think, and how they’re supposed to feel about the attitudes and events surrounding them.

Insists that lies, fabrications, make-believe, contradictions, and ignorant perspectives be believed as absolute truth without proof, and destroys the victim’s ability to discriminate between reality and bullshit by making it a crime to doubt and question.

Uses the Herd Mentality to systematically destroy any signs of opposition, self-assurance, critical thinking or questioning by means of ridicule and ostracism.

Exists through the continued creation of fear, uncertainty, and self-doubt.

Reiterates and drones out this fantasy endlessly to legitimize this social insanity by means of mass hypnotic reinforcement.

Sometimes creates pedophiles, murderers, and suicide vicitms.

Molestation, on the other hand:

Teaches one that sex performed well feels good, and that sex performed badly hurts.

Teaches one that you cannot trust anyone blindly.

Teaches one that not all decisions are good decisions.

Teaches one that shameful secrets and fear will irrevocably change the course of your life.

Hopefully, teaches one the value of therapy and/or the concepts that the victim need feel no shame, and one remains a victim only as long as one sees themselves that way.

Sometimes causes enough brain damage to create another pedophile, cause murder, or suicide.

I will bet that more people (per capita) have gotten over the damage caused by sexual abuse than will ever break free of the Sunday-School mindfuck. As one who has accomplished both in my lifetime to some extent, I believe that qualifies me to have an opinion on the subject.