Saturday, July 28, 2012

200 Miles Above Earth - Time Lapse View from the ISS at Night

I know this has been floating around, but it's too beautiful to not share.

In Which I Dare to Speak My Mind on Rape Jokes

Dare I dip my toe in the waters of the controversy of the week! Ah well fuck it. A disclaimer before the inevitable flame war for not conforming to the current script:

Of course rape isn’t funny! It is fucking heinous. It is a violent act of sexual terrorism. It has been and continues to be used as a means to control women in one of the most misogynistic ways possible. The mere threat of rape has silenced countless women (and men) since the beginning of human culture.

Also, know this: I have a daughter. I am heavily invested in eradicating all forms of misogyny to ensure that she or any woman never has to experience anything like rape or sexism.

With that said rape jokes can be funny and, more importantly, culturally useful. There is a distinction. These types of jokes can challenge people since comedy, when done correctly, lowers a person’s guard. Their defenses go down regarding their own preconceived notions. Comedy allows huge swaths of people to see controversial topics that may be alien to them from another person’s or group’s perspective in an accessible way. An intelligent and subversive rape joke may allow a man that would previously use misogynistic language or have that attitude to think about the ramifications of such language and actions. In Wanda Sykes bit below, she casually discusses how easy it would be to remove her vagina from her body so she could simply go out at night without having to be a potential target. That is an alien concept to a male. It really is. However, her jokes about this are a way to express something frightening and unmentionable while simultaneously exposing males to the emotions of that anxiety.   

This has worked on racism with great success. I have previously used the examples of Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle as comedians that cracked the walls between blacks and whites in America by employing jokes about racism.  Comedy can be used as a means to introduce subjects that are taboo and difficult to discuss. Via comedy, horrible topics can have that taboo removed for a moment and it allows many to consider the other side.  In Chappelle’s bit linked above he contrasts the open racism of the American South with the WASP-y, hidden racism of the Northeast, because that shit is true! As someone from the “North” I previously looked down upon the “South”. Between the experience of having lived there for a time and Chappelle’s and others' comedy shoving that subtle racism in my face I realized how deep the cultural institution of racism goes.

Now, I am not defending all rape jokes. Many of these jokes aren’t even jokes. They are rape threats disguised as a joke, and fuck those people. How do you tell the difference? Context. Thinking about it. Not condemning wholesale all instances of a joke or reference. That is a position that allows no nuance; no subversive, unconscious ridicule of the targeted position. It is reactionary and unthinking.  By condemning every instance of a taboo joke we lose an important tool in fighting that taboo.

Comedy can diminish the taboo of talking about taboo subjects. It can allow those that wouldn’t normally care about a subject or be able to identify with a subject to do just that. 

God Killed Everything w/the Flood to Stop Gay Marriage

This God dude is a really shitty all-powerful deity. I mean, he tries and tries and he just can't seem to wash those gays right out of his hair. What a failure.


via Joe.My.God.


Chaz The Intolerant Chick-fil-A Chicken

Friday, July 27, 2012

Introduction to Humanism - Dawkins, Grayling, Minchin & More

via British Humanists

Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner. Sure, Whatever.

Toddlers are living Furbies.  I know, because I have one.  When my three year old tells slow shoppers to "move out of the way, jackwagon!" at the grocery store, it's because he's heard Daddy say it numerous times in the car.  And I take responsibility for that.  With that being said, I'm just going to leave this video here.


Thanks to On Knees For Jesus for all the wonderful work they do.

Friday Link Dump 7/27/12

Debunking Christianity: Chicks, Sluts, 'Hos and Niggas--A Response to Those That Mistakenly Believe These Words Empower Them As a black man (naturally, I speak for all African Americans) I must confess that I stopped using the word “nigga” in conversation because it made my white friends uncomfortable.

Why No Denomination Will Survive the Homosexuality Crisis This may be one of the most reasoned articles I have ever read from a Christian website.

American Family Association Calls For Boycott Of Google Over Company's Support Of LGBT Rights  Yeah, this video was posted on Youtube (owned by Google).  Irony, thy name is fundie.

“Members of the House Intelligence Committee are entrusted with classified information that affects the safety and security of all Americans. That information should not be in the hands of anyone with such a disregard for honesty, misunderstanding of national security, and lack of respect for her fellow public servants.”
This would be a good place for a Bachman intelligence joke but I think it's a mistake to say that she is not intelligent. Derangement + intelligence is precisely what makes her so dangerous.

Demythologizing Reason “Ill-considered, untrained and incautious reasoning is quite prone to lead to the most egregious of fallacies, and merely being educated and intelligent is not enough to prevent this.”
I feel like I was just talking about this.

Fuck Purity Balls...They're Creepy  So diabolically creepy...

The Id, The Ego And The Superhero: What Makes Batman Tick?  Duh. It's adolescent rage and awesomeness.  Everybody knows that.

Did Chick-fil-A Pretend to Be a Teenage Girl on Facebook? Poe's law notwithstanding, this is either a desperate attempt by a CFA PR person, a not so clever CFA sympathizer or a social media genius throwing a fresh veggie burger into the rabid Liberal feeding tank  Either way, bravo.

Atheist’s plan to whip the Quran won’t be allowed in the Capitol, official says Good.  Whipping
a Quran acomnplishes nothing but perpetuating the stigma of the myopic angry atheist.

This graph of whooping cough cases in Washington State should scare the crap out of you

Skydiver Fearless Felix jumps from 18 miles up Baumgartner won't come close to space, even on the ultimate jump that's planned for late August or early September. Space officially begins at 100 kilometers, or 62 miles — more than 328,000 feet.”  Space is 62 miles up.  I want you to spend the rest of your day with that fact in your mind.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Carl Sagan says "You're awesome!"

CNN's Dana Loesch to Conservative Christian Against Homophobia "I know you hate Christ."

Normally I would transcribe this, but honestly I don't think I can sit through the whole thing playing it over and over again to do so. I am only aware of Loesch and don't really know of her, but after listening to this I feel a groundswell of disgust. She actually manages to make me want to defend Christianity. THAT IS FUCKED UP!

She speaks in fallacies. The "I know you hate Christ" line is a straw man and she employs judgmental language and shifts the burden of proof. nose if bleeding again....

via Equality Matters

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Aurora Theater Shooting Victims Charities

image via The Denver Post

I received an email from Foundation Beyond Belief suggesting The Denver Center for Crime Victims and the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance as two of the various charities you can contribute to for the Aurora Theater Shooting. I also started looking for other charities aside from those two. If you know of more please add them in the comments. Thank you. 

You can donate directly through those organizations or via; which also includes choices to donate to the Children’s Hospital Colorado, Red Cross, The Denver Center for Crime Victims, Bonfils Blood Center, and Metro Crisis Services.

Additionally, there are several other charities to donate to victims for medical or funeral services. A general fund for the victims.

Veronica Sullivan: Veronica was only six years old. She was the youngest victim. Proceeds will help pay for her funeral expenses.

Rebecca Wingo: Contribute to a fund for the daughters of Rebecca Wingo who was killed.

Caleb Medley: Caleb was shot in the eye and is now in a medically induced coma. His wife, who was also present at the theater, gave birth to their first child on Tuesday.

Matt McQuinn: Matt was killed in the shooting. Help Matt’s family pay for the funeral expenses.

Jonathan Blunk: Jonathan was killed in the shooting. Donations will pay for funeral expenses, and any remaining funds will be put toward supporting his children.

Jarell Brooks: Jarell was wounded in the attack. Funds will cover medical bills and loss of work.

Micayla Medek: Micayla was killed in the shooting. Funds will go towards a memorial fund.

Petra Anderson: Petra was shot several times, including once in the head. She is recovering. All funds will go to medical bills. Any remaining funds will go to Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance.

Farrah Soudani: Farrah is currently in ICU. Donation will go towards medical bills.

Mike White: Mike was shot and is recovering at home. Donations will help pay his medical bills.

Carli & Chris:Carli was shot several times at the Batman premiere in Denver, Colorado. Carli and her boyfriend, Chris, need our help paying for medical bills and counseling.

Richard Feynman "It's much more interesting to live not knowing..."

Order a print of the poster HERE

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A List of Companies that Support Marriage Equality

For those of you mourning Chick-fil-A (I do miss those milkshakes). Here is a list of companies who support Marriage Equality. This is in no way an exhaustive list. It was found using multiple sources. So if you are reading this on an iPhone while sipping a Coke at a McDonalds in an airport wearing Levi’s. Its OK, you are not supporting hate. If you are looking for companies to boycott because they support “teh gays” get the fuck off my blog.

American Airlines
Best Buy
Delta Airlines
General Motors
Gerber Baby Products
Hilton Hotels
Home Depot
Levi's Marriot International
Olive Garden
Proctor and Gamble
Red Lobster
Rite Aid Sears
Southwest Airlines
State Farm
United Airlines
Walt Disney Company

Honorable Mention to Jim Henson’s company for pulling their toys from Chick-fil-A in response to their President doubling down on the hate.

To be clear, I support Mr. Cathy’s freedom to say whatever he chooses.  His company is not  openly discriminating against anyone directly.  They just contribute to organizations that do.  This is America and it is clearly not illegal to be a bigot.  For those congratulating the company for their honesty, I humbly offer this.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Plethora of Insane Christian Quotes Regarding Aurora Shooting

A Plethora of Insane Christian Quotes Regarding Aurora Shootings

All from the same Christian Post article!

“What happened up in Aurora … was the product of pure evil. It was the result of a depraved individual taking his free will to the extreme,”  -Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family

“The Fall released human moral evil into the cosmos, and every single human being is a sinner, tempted by a full range of sinfulness,” he wrote in a commentary. “We cannot afford to be shocked when humans commit grotesque moral evil. It tells us the truth about unbridled human sin.”  -Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

The Christian Post interviewed Greg Stier, the founder of Dare 2 Share Ministries who had lots of insane things to say.

“It brings a whole new meaning to ‘Dark Knight rising’ – not in a good way.”

“You can’t help but think of Satan – you know that dark knight who was once that white knight … the highest of all angels who … got thrown out of heaven and has now been on the earth perverting, killing, whispering in ears.”

 “our struggle is not against people … but against a person in the spiritual realm. “

“There is a highly organized, systematized army of darkness.”

“I kind of go back to Adam and Eve and blame Adam for taking a bite of that fruit and poison[ing] humanity with the capacity for horrific sins,”

So what now? Christians need to spread the Gospel, Stier said. It was Christ who came to provide a solution – he conquered sin through his death and resurrection.

“We got to get that message … out to as many people as possible,”

Stier also stated that he looks forward to the fulfillment of Revelation and “All evil will be sucked up in this bottomless pit…Until then, we have a battle to fight.”

I find this to be a) insane and b) frustrating due to my interactions with liberal believers that do not talk like this. Whenever I bring up the really outrageous aspects of their own religion they get defensive and dismissive as if people like this do not exist or are just simply wrong. Obviously, they exist and they are dangerous. We have plenty of people within the upper echelons of the American government that believe this nonsense. Also, I will always snicker at any faithful believer that says another faithful believer is wrong. Oh really! How so? Prove it!

The Double Bind of Christian Faith in God

Awhile back I wrote an essay on Agnosticism vs. Atheism and the overlap of knowledge and belief. A commenter, Geosch, made an interesting point. They stated:

I'd also argue that all Christians are agnostic theists, as they emphasise faith as the basis of their belief. If they have faith that a god exists, then they necessarily don't actually know. In this way, the common apologetic argument that god refuses to provide proof because he requires faith of his followers actually works against them. —Geosch

This is called a double bind, which is logically related (but not exactly the same as) a Catch-22. It illustrates some logical problems of faith in a god especially if that deity is purposely hiding themselves and then requiring belief and worship.

(a) Have faith that god exists or he will punish you;
(b) Do not doubt or he will punish you".
(or both a and b)

That would make the believer a “victim” or at least a “dupe” due to their god’s imposition of this contradiction. If it were true, then that god’s demands would be unreasonable if not sadistic considering the ramifications.

The claim of belief through faith cannot include knowledge as a basis of belief. If an individual is claiming knowledge of their god then they would not require faith. None of this is surprising to most atheists that ponder such things. It will be surprising to many theists that claim to have faith and know their god is real.  Geosch accurately points out that they are actually agnostic theists since faith requires lack of knowledge. It is incompatible with knowledge; however, doubt is almost universally demonized. 

I’ve heard many atheists state that they do not wish to “deconvert” believers.  I do not understand that stance. If something is untrue and as potentially dangerous as religion, then why would one not want it to end? Regardless, there should be no quarrel with my following point: the next best step is taking the air out of the sails of believers. Take them down a notch. Make them less sure of themselves. Not as people, of course, but as believers who operate via faith. The more they doubt the less likely they are inclined to attempt to impose their beliefs on others, passively or aggressively, explicitly or implicitly, by force, by threat or by inaction. The more doubt is recognized, there is an increased probability for the acceptance of others and a rejection of oppressive or discriminatory religious beliefs. The increasing of cognitive dissonance via doubt is the best chance of decreased religiosity.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Rep. Gohmert (R) uses Aurora Shooting to Decry "ongoing attacks on Christian-Judeo beliefs"

Tea Party Congressman and batshit moron (he of the “Terror Baby” fame), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) is taking to hate radio (The Heritage Foundation’s Istook Live) using the Aurora, Colorado mass shooting as an excuse to decry the “ongoing attacks on Christian-Judeo beliefs” stating that “We’ve lost our faith.”

Never mind that no one yet knows the motives or mental state of the shooter. I guess Gohmert is a mind reader.

Later Gohmert also used the incident to seemingly blame atheists for being suicidal. I don’t get the non sequitur…  

“…I might mention something else that hadn’t been public yet. Most of us that follow the military, love the military know that we have had an extraordinary increase in suicide rates in the military and it’s just heartbreaking … There was a study commissioned, 6,000 personal (sic) of index profiles and what they found, and I don’t ‘know if they’ll make it public…but all of the people who have committed suicide within their two percent studied, were part of their 2 percent most atheistic members of the military. We’ve lost our faith.”

He isn’t very clear there, but is he saying that the study consisted of 2% of the military suicides and everyone of the suicides within that 2% of suicides were “atheistic”?

One wonders if this study is accurate, misquoted, or if Gohmert just made it up.

Friday Link Dump 7/20/12

It's Just Atheism “When we lump all these groups together and say “this is what we are” we are automatically excluding those that live quietly on our side of the fence. These are the people that need to be attracted to being, at a minimum, open about their irreligion and be comfortable with it.”

Guest Post: Lightning & Disease - A Primitive Thought System Overturned "Foremost among our ongoing challenges,...and rising above all the others, is the struggle against our own ignorance."

Get Your Atheism Out of My Science and Stay Out I really like Gamma Squad, but this wasn't the best reasoned argument. To a degree, I agree with Dan Seitz (obviously, given my “It’s Just Atheism”
post earlier in the week which was timely), but this argument has some rather large holes in it. Something else for us vocal atheists to remember is that not everyone has thought about it as much as we have or had practice debating. Sometimes we need to cut others some slack and not overreact. Actually, I think we should do that more than we do. I commented a few times trying to clear it up all friendly-like.

What Darwin Never Knew (NOVA Documentary) "...I don’t “worship” Darwin. I admire the man for formulating the basis of all modern biology." I'm just saying...that's pretty cool.

Katrina Lumsden's Reviews > Fifty Shades of Grey The second greatest review of all time (as far as I know). The first being Lindy West’s epic review of the Sex and the City 2 movie.

Priests could be ordered to report confessions of sex abuse to police That’s outrageous! How you expect priests to turn themselves in?

/sarcasm font.

Preachers in Alabama Bully an Art Theater (HILARIOUS UPDATE!) This is proof that it pays that I went to grad school at Bama. Not for the M.A. degree...just so I am privy to info like this.

Fox Back To Bashing The Volt Fox spreading a myth that has already been

What “Dummies” need to know about atheism It’s not really that informative of an interview, but know that Dale McGowan wrote “Atheism for Dummies.”

Make the World Better by Pamela Gay: “I’ve heard people joke that the reason I’m in a research center rather than in Physics is because I have boobs. It’s all said with a laugh. So far, its been nothing actionable or against the law. But it hurts...I know it hurts my self esteem. And I know there is nothing I can do to change the reality I am in.  I could move to another university – I could change which reality I’m in – but that would leave behind a university devoid of women role models who are capable in physics and computer science, the two fields that my students come from. I stay, and I try to be the example of a woman doing things that matter.”

oh yeah...*shakes fist*

Boy Scouts Reaffirm Ban On Open Gays; Call It 'Absolutely The Best Policy' Hmm, well, in light of that I think the best policy is for Americans to stop sending their boys to the Boy Scouts. Navigators USA is an inclusive alternative.

Poor People in Alabama Continue to be Jailed Because They Cannot Pay Fines “A shocking number of these sentences imposed for minor misdemeanors exceeded the punishment for felony offenses.” The new debtor’s prison system.

A New Age for Truth “A public with the ability to spot a hoax website, verify a tweet, detect a faked photo, and evaluate sources of information is a more informed public. A public more resistant to untruths and so-called rumor bombs. (Think "death panels.") This is a public that can participate in fact checking, rather than merely be an audience for it.”

Chemistry Cat meme Yeah, I’m just going to share them all.

Also, fuck you George Zimmerman.

Random Observation I still think there is a disconnect here.

Bill Murray’s minor league baseball team to celebrate atheism night Proving once and for all that Bill Murray is too cool. Also, there is this. Even if the tour isn’t real, the previous party crashing makes Bill Murray my celebrity hero.

Faithful flock to 'bleeding' Virgin Mary Yet again, the inevitable wait for a rational explanation before this “miracle” fades into obscurity.

You know I watch too many atheist videos when I can recall the exact clip that Dawkin's expression came from. The proof is below!