left biblioblography: June 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Funny–Margaret Cho

Margaret Cho skewers Christianity:



Sunday, June 26, 2011

Because Discrimination Should Matter To Everyone…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasispro_gay_marriage_rights_design

Well, the good news is in: New York’s now the sixth state to ratify same-sex marriage. Among other pleasant surprises:

“New York's Republican-controlled legislature cleared the way Friday to legalize same-sex marriage with a 33-to-29 vote, sending the bill to the governor's desk for his approval.”

A question that does spring up from time to time, is why do atheists weigh in on this topic? More often than not, it’s that generalized ‘hey, you’re not gay, why do you care?’

There’s plenty of reasons to care. For one, there’s the issue of sympatico – if you’ve ever been discriminated against, it’s an ugly feeling; and if you’re any kind of human at all, you shouldn’t wish that sort of nonsense on anyone else. For another, the anti-gay arguments against this sort of union is primarily religious. By forcing a religious belief on others, it’s a clear violation of the Separation of Church and State. And even more fundamental rights than constitutional ones. It is safe to say, there aren’t any secular arguments against it.

It’s even safer to say, that Christianity has carried the homophobic torch for some centuries now. It’s an old, rotted tradition that should be scrapped, along with the institution that implemented it.

Of course all the homophobes are up in arms about this (even the ‘polite ones’) – including one who has a lesbian granddaughter. I can’t abide the Westboro Bozos, but at least everyone knows where they stand on this, and they aren’t talking out of both sides of their collective mouths. The ‘I have friends/family who are gay’ excuse doesn’t bail people out.

If you tell one subset of people that they aren’t allowed to do something that everyone else can, that’s discrimination.

That’s a fact, not an ‘opinion’.

Till the next post, then.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday Funny–Sterling Archer Twofer

I enjoy animation (perhaps too much), and Sterling Archer is roaringly funny.

Online pregnancy test:

HR complaint from outta left field:



Saturday, June 18, 2011

Just The Vax, Ma’am–Delusional Denialism Has Many Faces…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

denialism1finalVaccine Gestapo
They have swastikas on their shoulders
They’re such patriotic soldiers
They’re like a militia in Montana
They’re a government agency in Atlanta

Vaccine gestapo! Vaccine gestapo!
Vaccine gestapo! Vaccine gestapo!

They’re a medical military priesthood
Just like Adolf they preach the greater good
Conscientious objectors are just little snots
Why don’t you quit complaining and go get your shots

Vaccine gestapo! Vaccine gestapo!
Vaccine gestapo! Vaccine gestapo!

(An actual Anti-vaccination rally song!)

I’m a raging curmudgeon. I admit it freely. To paraphrase Hamlet, I take arms against a sea of stupidities, and thus my voice is sometimes drown’d by them.

So just recently, I was once more into the breach, dear friends, here:

A fellow local in the Mountain View area published this rather vacuous article titled To Vaccinate or not to Vaccinate. I have nothing against this fellow personally: his opinion, however, is another matter entirely. This specious opening paragraph is too much:

For some time now, there has been debate about the effectiveness and adverse reactions of vaccines.

In factuality, people have been ranting and raving about vaccinations since the 17th century. And here we are, 4 centuries later, and we still have crazy conspiracy theories that are built up around innocuous items like needles. I dislike them as much as the next person, but hey, it’s either blood or poop. I’ll take the needle, thanks, since I only allow a select form of paper near that orifice, if there’s any choice at all.

But then this paragraph:

Groups such as Doctors Against Vaccines have researched and put together an amazing amount of information and made it available to all of us internet users. I reiterate, us internet users, because although some alternative sources of radio and television exist where these facts are told to the people, mainstream media focuses on the other version, where vaccines are seen as safe, reliable and necessary.

Well, sorry, it reeks of accommodationism. What’s one of my favorite sayings, folks? Oh yeah: “The internet is like the bible: it’s 99% full of shit.” Funnier still, this egregious nonsense started (in this century, anyhow) with the now-debunked Andy Wakefield and his Flimsy Fraudulent Findings. Not to mention non-degreed Jenna McCarthy, whose idiotic stance on the entire ‘debate’ is only taken seriously because she’s good-looking and telegenic. And far, far too many people take Oprah seriously. (This same guy tries to use Youtube videos to back his claim: I re-iterate – Youtube is the National Enquirer of the Interwebs, and I don’t accept it as a viable or informed source.)

I hate doing this shit, because it smacks of an ad hominem, but when I actually go to the website Doctors Against Vaccines, it’s run by a bunch of…homeopaths. Yes, that’s right. They’re not real doctors, any more than chiropractors, aromeopaths, or any of those other New Age quacksters. A simple, objective evaluation of all their wiki pages bears this out. Five minutes on the internet, and the house of cards collapses.

The fact of the matter is, folks, that this is a non-debate on multiple levels. I kept running into these wackjobs on the web who were declaring a world-wide alert that the medical community (and big pharma) are poisoning our kids.

Do these people even listen to themselves? Since when has putting children at risk ever been a good business model? As I noted in the comments, big pharma doesn’t need to keep people sick or make them sick – human beings are a constant litany of ills and woes, and being a doctor is very nearly recession-proof because of that. It’s like saying restaurants are starving people, or dentists are handing out candy to the neighborhood to promote tooth decay. Are there some folks in the medical field who are in it for the money? Of course. But this ‘us vs. them’ mentality is mostly ignorant fear.

It’s a huge problem: first, it’s television, folks. Talk shows are just that: all talk. Secondly, I’ve developed a pretty keen skeptic’s edge (I’d like to think). I don’t run off to someone else’s website to vindicate myself. Anyone anywhere can go on the web these days, and find some nutcase who validates whatever crazy-ass idea the researcher had in the first place. I go straight to a Wiki/Answers.com page, do some preliminary evaluations. If someone purposely goes looking for villainous undercurrents, confirmation bias will validate their paranoia about invidious evil forces out to destroy them/their life/their freedom/[insert paranoid fear here]. In short: detachment is essential in evaluation.

Thirdly, something even more dangerous, is this ‘everyone’s opinion is valid’ crapola. No, it isn’t. Opinion doesn’t trump fact, nor does perception alter reality. Evolution? Reality. Vaccinations? Established science. Anything that’s unprovable, no matter how pretty or poetic (or fear-mongering), is rubbish. I blame political correctness (read: polite fascism) for this. That someone has a dissenting opinion is fine. Free speech and all that. America was built on dissent anyways. But having an opinion is distinct from being able to prove it. Most folks think their opinion is indistinguishable from their character, especially when they have some vested interest or feel passionately about it.

My big issues are these:

A. This is what I categorize as a NON-DEBATE – track records speak louder than dissent in this case. Is it seamless? No. Nothing is. (i.e., One of my pet peeves, is when I talk about GPS, some brainfart blats out that “GPS isn’t 100%”.  Name me ten things that are 100%, please. I’ve gotten horribly lost relying on the directions from strangers more often than from my GPS. Sorry. Onwards.) Some people have adverse reactions to flu shots? Of course they do. Just like some people don’t survive life-saving surgery. A little sense, please.

B. Some non-debates like these cost money. In this case, they cost lives. Children’s lives, no less. So yes, it’s a pisser.

About the only sense I can make of this idiocy, is that the Powers That Be (all human, I might qualify) are creating all sorts of diversionary nonsense to take the heat off of their incompetency.

Till the next post, then.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday Funny–Futurama

This one’s exceptionally funny – the eyePhone:



Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ugandan Homophobia And The Conclussion*…

Cross-posted @ the Atheist Oasisanusdefecation

The insanity seems to spread like wildfire in Uganda:

South Africa gay rights activists warn of homophobic attacks after murder

Anger follows alleged gang rape and murder of lesbian campaigner International footballer Eudy Simelane was apparently sexually assaulted and tortured before being killed three years ago. Human rights campaigners have warned of an "epidemic" of brutal homophobic attacks in South Africa after the murder and alleged gang rape of a lesbian activist. Noxolo Nogwaza was killed last month after what appeared to be a so-called "corrective rape", an increasingly common crime in which men rape lesbians to "turn" them straight or "cure" them of their sexual orientation....

Is it something in the water? Raping someone so that they ‘turn’? So, if a bunch of guys takes turns anally violating another man, he’ll become gay? The sickening stupidity of this is frightening. I’d be willing to bet the rent that this xenophobic garbage wasn’t nearly so prevalent prior to the missionaries spewing their cautionary fables over the cultural landscape and enforcing them at gunpoint.

The vacuous homily that all a lesbian woman needs is a good penis to change her sexual orientation is ludicrous at the very least, and incredibly sexist and self-absorbed (read: sexual sociopath) at the worst. It speaks of a middle-school mentality that’s barely forgivable in children, and an offense to all of civilization in an adult.

Rape is, in my book, one of the highest crimes one individual can commit on another, rating right up there with pedophilia and murder. The violation of another’s sexual autonomy is a savage scar across the psyche that wreaks havoc on us all in the long term, and dark night terrors on the victim, likely for life.  It is terrorism, short and simple.

And it should not be allowed. Ever. Period. The end. And the peddlers of this trash should be prosecuted to the highest extent of any law anywhere.

The hidden shame of the source of this evil is (no surprise here) Christianity, followed quite closely by the other two monotheisms (Judaism got this entire sick ball rolling in the first place). Women are subjugated in all their tales, and the consistent lie that homosexuality is unnatural (the observance of nature quite belies that claim). I do not blame religion itself: religion is a construct by which obsessive crazy people give themselves a free pass to indulge their sociopathic tendencies.

So let’s play the blame game: I personally blame these fucktards:

Americans’ Role Seen in Uganda Anti-Gay Push

KAMPALA, Uganda — Last March, three American evangelical Christians, whose teachings about “curing” homosexuals have been widely discredited in the United States, arrived here in Uganda’s capital to give a series of talks.

The theme of the event, according to Stephen Langa, its Ugandan organizer, was “the gay agenda — that whole hidden and dark agenda” — and the threat homosexuals posed to Bible-based values and the traditional African family.

For three days, according to participants and audio recordings, thousands of Ugandans, including police officers, teachers and national politicians, listened raptly to the Americans, who were presented as experts on homosexuality. The visitors discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how “the gay movement is an evil institution” whose goal is “to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.”

Now the three Americans are finding themselves on the defensive, saying they had no intention of helping stoke the kind of anger that could lead to what came next: a bill to impose a death sentence for homosexual behavior.

So you wander into a cesspit of ignorance and stupidity, fan the flames, ignite the villagers and hand them pitchforks, and then you assholes feign surprise there was violence? I’ll bet there are crackheads on the streets who have more sense. Or brains. And really, what qualified these asswipes anyways? I’ve tended to notice, that if you just slap on a title under the guise of religion, somehow that lends it more credence than it should.

Had I a say, we’d lock these fucks up and throw away the key. I can almost forgive the Ugandans (almost, but not quite) for being undereducated morons discriminating against their fellow human beings, but these fuckagelicals were sent to decent (one supposes) schools, raised in a country where the living standards are astronomically different than Uganda’s, and here they go stirring the pot and fanning the flames of raging sexual xenophobia.

It makes me physically ill sometimes, it does.

Till the next post, then.

*(A conclussion is a portmanteau I learned on Pharyngula: it is a combo of conclusion and concussion. So if the conclusion gives someone a concussion, that’s a conclussion.)


Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Tuesday Twofer–The Ricky Gervais Show

I’ve always enjoyed Ricky’s humor. Here’s an unusual show format: the original was done as podcast, and when they brought it to TV (or DVD), they set it up as animation.

The first clip is about armed dolphins, which is what I like to call a leaker (it made me leak tears, it did):

This second clip is a hysterical look at the afterlife according to Karl Pilkington.

Blind ghosts? (Snort!)



Sunday, June 05, 2011

“…And Justice For All…”–How Religion Rapes The Concept…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasisjustice_league

Halls of Justice Painted Green
Money Talking
Power Wolves Beset Your Door
Hear Them Stalking
Soon You'll Please Their Appetite
They Devour
Hammer of Justice Crushes You
Overpower - Metallica
, "And Justice For All"

His rights in violation
Through sharp intimidation
He's soon to realize
That their words are full of lies - Anacrusis
, “Injustice”

One of the things that gets me all lathered up, is how the religious live in this comic book world, where someone, sometime, will swoop in (at some unspecified time/date) and rectify an inequitable situation.

Case in point: I was visiting my Dominionist/YEC buddy (hey, I know, I know: but I love the guy like a brother, the friendship’s over 30 years old, and…excuses, excuses. We just don’t debate ideology any more, I yell too much) a while back, and unprompted, he starts in with this nonsense about “I can’t wait till Jesus shows up, and life is wonderful and lovey-dovey, and justice will be done.” (Para) I let him finish, and told him point blank, that that just wasn’t going to happen, like, not EVER. While the more disconnected of the delusionists will assure me that somehow this is an isolated example, I can safely bet the rent that not only is that incorrect, it’s the state of mental affairs for the bulk of the religulous.

In fact, back in the days of my cafeteria Christianity, I had some nebulous notion that everyone who’d ever wronged me would get their ‘just desserts’. Stronger likelihood is that they just ate pie, and forgot about what they did.

Let’s define justice somewhat on a loose level, and go from there:

Justice is the concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, fairness, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics.

Now the point of this post is not to debate the overall concepts of jurisprudence, or to weigh respective acts on some abstract scale. No, it is to point out that this concept of justice as Divine Command is not only utter horseshit, but that it poisons the meme ecology, and leads to a situation that boils down to ‘for the want of a nail…’

This will require some thought. How often have you heard the vacuous homily, “Gawd has a plan for you?” Too many? Me too. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the times I’ve (over)heard this crap. Taking it a step further: how many of your friends/family members, casual acquaintances (et al) who have stated (verbatim or  para) that “so-and-so will get his/hers/theirs”? Sit down and hash that out. It probably rates up there with any other startling statistics you’ve glossed over for who knows how many years you’ve been alive. I will say on my part: a LOT. If you hang with Buddhists, it’s called karma. And holy shit, there’s even a TV show that predicates its premises on this nonsense. Being a primarily Christian majority in America, however, means that a lot more folks will err on the side of ‘Jebus’ll take care o’ me.”

I will state this: the only people that the concept of karma works on, are the people who aren’t sociopaths. We are the creatures who are self aware, and feel empathy. Those of us who have committed some act of injustice on another will have that nagging thing called a conscience somewhere in the corners of our minds, and the guilt will make us self-sabotage either in the short- or long-term. The crazy assholes who think they’re the center and reality of the universe? Not so much. Lacking a degree, that’s all I’ll say on that for the moment.

So how does this impact the culture from a victim’s viewpoint? Instead of stepping up and addressing any injustice or injury committed on a person’s character, livelihood, relationships, etc., it allows the victimizer to get away with said transgression, and encourages the injured to keep silent. It empowers the passive to stay passive, and allows the transgressor a degree of freedom they shouldn’t have.

And it prompts idiocies like the Urethra Dilemma. I mean really: how many thousands of man-hours have been devoted to garbage like that? Hours better spent feeding hungry children, building shelters, or just objectively measuring the scale of the universe? But I digress…

And there’s so very many examples of how divinity has never stepped in. The Holocaust. The Darfur genocide. Cambodia and East Timor. Bosnia. There’s a laundry list of these examples that turns my stomach just thinking of them. Where exactly was karma then? Or Jebus? Nowhere to be found.

I realize I’m skirting the fringes of a slippery slope argument, but it’s more along the lines of the Boiling Frog. My point is that it is an incremental allowance: we allow an individual some slack in regards to acts of selfishness. The individual sees that s/he can get away with this, and begins to test the boundaries. Before you object, recall that Dahmer started with small animals, and it was never addressed (being as he was raised in a fuckagelical environment, it kind of makes my point for me) or dealt with.

And people are lazy. They just are. Humans rationalize, because either they’re disempowered (by word or deed) to speak up on their own behalf, or they’re taught some gratuitous crap about ‘just desserts’, i.e, the universe/gawd/allah/karma [insert deity or concept of choice] will step in and rectify a situation regardless of how tolerable (or intolerable) said situation has escalated.

The nutshell of all this is: there’s no justice. There’s just us. And as the universe cares not a bit for us, more’s the reason we need to take care of one another.

Till the next post, then.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Wednesday Funny–Rowan Atkinson

Rowan Atkinson is a comedic genius: he should be listed in the top 100 funniest people ever, easily. I’ve always enjoyed his capering wit.

In this clip, he takes the standard Sunday Sermon, and makes it hilarious: