Friday, August 27, 2010

Why Atheist Fundamentalist is a Nonsense Term

A lot of critics of the more vocal "New Atheists" try to in cheap debating points by poisoning the well with the label "atheist fundamentalists". The strategy here isn't too sophisticated: imply that these atheists are just as closed-minded as their opponents. The problem is the two aren't remotely similar. Oh sure, there are stupid atheists, ignorant atheists, loud atheists, arrogant strident atheists and even atheists that are wrong about the big questions. But none of this supplies coherence to the term "fundamentalist atheists". It's an oxymoron. We aren't much fond of authoritarianism, tradition, dogma, or of course faith. That's a big part of what makes us atheists in the first place. We don't herd well. We don't pledge our devotion to any particular beliefs, or hold much of anything in stone. Ask three atheists for their opinions on gods and religion and you'll get four opinions. Ask them again in six months and you'll four slightly different opinions from what you got before. There's no fundamentalism in there.

So you critics of the New Atheists, dispense with the intellectual dishonesty and these erroneous terms like "fundamentalist atheist". It only reveals your gross ignorance of how atheists think, or your dishonesty in dealing with it.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Teabaggers and Czars

Here's Ted Nugent tossing an impressively stupid word salad of Teabagger talking points:

"This president's overtly destructive, clear-and-present-danger agenda is surpassed in transparency only by his ultra-leftist public voting record and overall lifetime conduct of consorting with the enemy as a child and student of Marxism, socialist and racist community organizer, congregant of the blatant America-hating black-theology- and social-justice-spewing Rev. Jeremiah Wright and close personal friend of convicted communist terrorists like Bill Ayers, and by his unflinching appointment of an array of communist czars, including Van Jones, Cass Sunstein, Anita Dunne, et al."

OK, first of all Ted, and any Teabaggers that might be reading, the moment you say "Bill Ayers", "Saul Alinsky", or "ACORN", thinking people stop listening. It was irrelevant bullshit in 2008, and it's still irrelevant bullshit now. Secondly, all you igtards yammering about communist czars, please go take a history lesson. The Czars were absolute rulers, the Caesers of Russia. The notion of multiple Czars being appointed is, well, like having multiple all powerful gods being chosen by mere mortals. "Czar" in the US is a hokey term for certain appointed positions, has been going on since Reagan and his idiot Drug Czar William Bennett, and is another phantom issue like the three A's above. Furthermore, the communists were the friggin people that overthrew the damned line of Czars, murdered the last one and his children in cold blood. So talking about communist Czars is like talking about Nazi Jews.

And you wonder why the stereotype of the Teabaggers is an ignorant blowhard...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Women Clergy as bad as Child Rape Sez Vatican

Yep, that's right, allowing a woman to be a priest is as bad as raping children, or so says the Catholic church. I guess that means if they catch any ordainers, they'll just move them around instead of punishing them or bothering the proper authorities about it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fast Food Anecdote

Inspired from this discussion

It seems clear to me that fast food is hopelessly unhealthy and expensive compared to almost anything home cooked. I don't buy the "I don't have time" argument either, unless one is on the road between destinations. Nonetheless...

...while in college in 1984, drained of funds and willing to do nearly anything ethical to get by, I took full advantage of the McDonald's Olympic game. This is the one where you get free food if the Americans medal in the event printed on your free game card you get when you go in. I would wander by between classes and scoop up game cards left by those not as desperate as I. When the month to turn them in came, I did so. All of them. Every day. 3-4 times: a Big Mac, fries, and a coke, for a month. I didn't gain a pound, nor notice any ill health effects.

Then again, my main mode of transportation was my bicycle, and to say my metabolism was high would be a major understatement. The lesson I take from that is not that fast food isn't unhealthy, or can't be cheap for that matter. It's that one shouldn't do medical research with a sample space of one. Oh, and never eat 3-4 Big Macs a day for a month. It's likely to cause you to never eat one again.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Dealing with Traveling Evangelists: Preach The Boot

Here's a great story about two effective ways to deal with traveling evangelicals. You can impale them on their own spear:

Or you can satirize them:

In this second scenario, a student set up next to the evangelist and preached the word of the boot, and it's protection from the evil wetness. Shamed, the evangelist had little to say except "You're all going to Hell!". Like their cousins the Teabaggers, they have little defense from satire, because most people can't tell the difference at a glance. For the greatest example of this, read Mark Twain's The War Prayer.

The victims in the pictures are Brother Jed and Sister Cindy, who, those of you who've gone to college in the last 50 years know, travel around the country delivering their folksy fire-and-brimstone Christianity. I remember spending part of my afternoons mocking Cindy mercilessly. The big burr up her ass then was rock-n-roll, and it was going to send us to the LAKE...OF...FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRE!!! We'd bring a jam box and sing along to Stairway to Heaven while she ranted. I also recall one year a huge transvestite dressed for Halloween showed up and confronted Cindy, who literally curled up into a ball until the, um, guy(?) left.

Jed wasn't much fun then, looks like nothing changed. They must have found a fountain of youth somewhere, they don't look to have aged a day in 20+ years. But then, they came pre-aged.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Science and Intuition

Good science often starts with intuition. Bad science ends with it.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Stupid Things Democrats Say: Here's Your Chance Democrat Haters

For all of you splitting at the sides at my policy of not allowing tit-for-tat partisan political comments, this post is for you. Here's your chance to make good your boasts that the Democrats are just as stupid as the Republicans. Think my posts are biased against the GOP because its stupidity gets highlighted more than that from the Democrats? Now's put-up-or-shut-up time. To maintain focus and avoid the tactics of obfuscation (which is one of the main bases for my policy), here are the ground rules:

1) Give an exact quote by a Democrat with either a primary source, or a respected non-Rupert-Murdock-owned secondary source. No paraphrasing, no "watch this link", no "Ann Coulter said so", no "Some people say".

2) Describe what changes would need to be made to the statement to make it correct, and if it is a scientific subject, source your answer to some widely respected authority on the matter (ie a scientific organization or representative of its view). We can't measure how wide of the mark an idiotic statement is if we don't know what a true statement would be, and differing with GOP orthodoxy does not idiocy make.

3) Tell me what statement by a GOPer is comparable. Be sure to keep in mind #2, as well as how respected the speaker is on his side of the aisle, and how large an audience he has. It's hardly reasonable to compare something said by a Gaia tree-hugger whose group meets in a phone booth with something Sarah Palin said.

Failing to conform to this criteria will result in noninclusion. This is not an opportunity to toss as much shit against the wall as you can in an effort to see what sticks.

My contention, as made evident by my many blog postings on this subject, is that the "breathtaking inanity" (Bush-appointed Judge Jones' description of the Intelligent Design crowd) expressed by GOP politicians and supporters dwarfs that of Democrats by orders of magnitude, both in wideness of the reality mark, and the audience and respect such views get. It's never been my contention that there are NO stupid crazy democrats. But democrats who say things every bit as crazy as what creationists say are mostly laughed at by other Democrats, or hidden in the attic. They don't nominate them for Vice President. They don't make their views part of the party platform. The GOP does.

On every issue where there is a clear scientific consensus, and the two parties differ, it is the GOP on the ignorant side of the aisle. Whether it is evolution, global warming, stem cell research, abstinence-only birth control, and a host of other issues, it's the democrats that side closest to the best science we have. The Republicans pay lip service to science, and try desperately to give the impression that their ideology is supported by it, but in the end when science clashes with their ideology, ideology wins. That goes for overtly religious subjects like evolution, to more secular religious views like supply-side economics and pure capitalism. The Laffer curve is every bit as religious, and evidence-free, as a 6,000 year-old-earth is, as is the notion that government ruins everything. Ever hear of WWII, the moon landing, or the interstate highway system? Government programs all.

Again, that's not to say the Democrats are above criticism. On too many subjects, they deviate from clear science and mathematics (the drug war, gun control, social security, etc.) It's just small potatoes compared to what Republicans do, and is usually a lesser level of error. I'd compare the Republicans and Democrats to two doctors presented with our sick society. The Democrats want to bleed it with leeches. The Republicans want to pray for its recovery. While both solutions are clearly flawed, the Democrats are epistemologically eons ahead. At least their proposal understands that there are physical forces at work here, that they are part of the body politic, and curing what ails it means changing that physicality somehow. The Republican method doesn't even seem comfortable with objective reality, and is essentially relying on magic. The Democrats flaws can be changed with data. The GOP is stuck where it is forever, because to them, what seems true in their gut, or their mind, makes scientific evidence-gathering irrelevant. Republicans are, in every way that matters, still living in the 18th century. They never went through the scientific renaissance. They are still Aristotelian.

Think I'm wrong? Here's your chance to prove it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More Tea Party Loonies Coming to a Race Near You

Think Ron Paul and his aversion to aspects of the Civil rights Act are just dandy fun, be sure to check out this summary of Teapartiers running for office, where you'll find gems like these:

World Wrestling executive Linda McMahon

Tim D'Annunzio, for whom we find this wonderful description:

In Hoke County divorce records, his wife said in 1995 that D'Annunzio had claimed to be the Messiah, had traveled to New Jersey to raise his stepfather from the dead, believed God would drop a 1,000-mile high pyramid as the New Jerusalem on Greenland and found the Ark of the Covenant in Arizona. A doctor's evaluation the following month said D'Annunzio used marijuana almost daily, had been living with another woman for several months, had once been in drug treatment for heroin dependence and was jailed a couple times as a teenager.

The doctor concluded that his religious beliefs were not delusional. A judge wrote in a child support ruling a few years later that D'Annunzio was a self-described "religious zealot" who believed the government was the "Antichrist." The judge said he was willfully failing to make child support payments.

Sharon Angle, the Tea Party’s top candidate in the GOP primary to challenge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), is benefiting from an implosion by frontrunner Sue Lowden, who has been sinking in the polls ever since she suggested that poor Nevadans could “barter” with their doctors, perhaps by giving them a chicken in exchange for services...Angle’s ultra-conservative positions, which include abolishing the Department of Education and ending virtually all campaign finance restrictions

Ain't it great where the person suggesting we pay our doctors in chickens is the sane one?

Vaughn Ward, an Iraq war vet who had been endorsed by Palin and was highly touted as a recruit by the national party...was caught recycling lines from then Sen. Barack Obama’s 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention. Ward had also been rebuked for making it appear that Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo endorsed his campaign when, in fact, he had not. And on at least two occasions, Ward suggested that Puerto Rico, where primary opponent Labrador was born, is a foreign nation.

Well Hell, what do you expect from a party whose presidential candidate didn't know where Spain is.

Will America really elect insane people to office. Tune in November.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Free Market of Health Care: A Simple Rebuttal


Millions of people have decided, via their rugged individual minds, that water is medicine. "Inefficient market" is too kind a term.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rand Paul, Tea Partier, De Facto Segregationist

In case anyone actually needed the proof, Rachel Maddow does a masterful job here and here giving Rand Paul enough racist rope to hang himself. Paul prattles on about how he's not a racist and hates discrimination, and then waffles and dances like a madman to avoid answering the simple question of whether his view would allow businesses to refuse to serve blacks, or gays, or women, or whoever they want. Of course it would, and Paul should have been less of a pussy and just flat said that it did. He should have said that as a libertarian, he would rather suffer the negative repercussions of private business discrimination than suffer from government interference in that part of life, however big talk it'd be from a white male who wouldn't be the one suffering, rather than try to pawn it off as some sort of hypothetical, abstract discussion. That made him come off as a dishonest, patronizing sleazebag.

But I'm really waiting for all the Tea Baggers to come forward and denounce Paul's de facto support of racial discrimination (you can't say you're for dike breaches but against floods), and an effective social return to 1960. Come on guys, you SAY you aren't a bunch of racists - now put up or shut up.

We all know its the only time they'll be quiet.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

O'Reilly's Parade of Stupid

In case you missed it, here is Bill O'Reilly's recent parade of stupidity:

Here's Bill giving Ann Coulter a chance to babble nonsensically about those evil, fictional "liberals" who are against everything, and who loved Hitler. And Don't dare think rationally!

Of course what would an article featuring stupidity be without an appearance by Sarah Palin, revealing clearly her desire for a Biblical government, and her complete ignorance, compounded by Bill's, of the religion-free nature of our Constitution. I would love just once to hear someone blabbing on about how relevant The Ten Commandments is to our government to name a single law forbidding worshiping idols, or coveting, or not keeping the sabbath. Methinks they don't even know the contents of their own religion.

And finally, listen to Bill take the daring position, no doubt popular in his great-grandmother's time, that redistribution of wealth is a new and dangerous concept. Happens every time a tax is collected, or a government program implemented. Do try to keep up.

Imagine what the below-average Republicans must be like...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Only in Alabama

Let's hope, anyway. First Bradley Burne gets accused of not being ignorant enough (believing in evolution but not the Bible), then he rebuts with 'DIRP! Yes I are!':

"As a Christian and as a public servant, I have never wavered in my belief that this world and everything in it is a masterpiece created by the hands of God. As a member of the Alabama Board of Education, the record clearly shows that I fought to ensure the teaching of creationism in our school text books. Those who attack me have distorted, twisted and misrepresented my comments and are spewing utter lies to the people of this state."

Enjoy, for just a moment, the schadenfreude at the quote-minders eating their own.

But back to harsh reality, this is a race for Governor folks. GOVERNOR! We shouldn't tolerate this nonsense from someone running for dog catcher, much less Governor. I guess given the recent rise of dull stars like Glenn Beck in the conservative constellation we should have expected this. Nonetheless, the next time someone tries to use the fact that Sarah Palin was governor as justification for giving credibility to her views, show him this half wit.

Also keep this in mind the next time someone insults your intelligence with the "oppressed Christians by the liberal media" meme. If the media had the slightest bit of objectivity, much less an anti-Christian bias, this guy would be eviscerated on every news network for a week. Instead, that appeal to the 19th century Republican base there in Alabamy might just help him win him the election.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fabulous Comment on Homophobes in the Onion

If you've wondered as I have about the long list of fire-and-brimstone homophobes that turn out to be gayer than a pink suit (Haggert, Foley, Larry Craig, etc.), you'll love this oldie from the Onion which ends with this:

"I swear, if these homosexuals don't take a hint and quit sucking my cock all the time, I'm going to have to resort to drastic measures–like maybe pinning them down to the cement floor of the loading dock with my powerful forearms and working my cock all the way up their butt so they understand loud and clear just how much I disapprove of their unwelcome advances. I mean, you can't get much more direct than that."

Nope, you can't. Now assume a wide stance...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Townhallers on Race and GOP - Revealing More than they Realize

Michael Medved wrote a surprisingly lucid article on the demographic problems facing the GOP with regard to race. While John McCain got considerably more white votes than Obama, Obama's 4:1 demolition of the GOP ticket among nonwhites sealed the deal. Those demographics will work more to the Democrats' advantage with every passing year, and Medved rightfully sounds the alarm for changes to the GOP to take this reality into account.

Predictably, many of those who criticized Medved did so in a way that made pretty clear just what the problem is:

"Note that the illegal/legal distinction is relatively unimportant, since the two population are quite similar -- we're mostly importing people bearing little human capital. "

"No peaceful solution remains for taking back the country and the government from the leftists, blacks and hispanics. "

"This nation was founded by whites, and as long as whites were a majority, their Founders' vision of limited government, individual responsibility and self-sufficiency were upheld. But the white birthrate has dropped and continues to decline, while nonwhites remain prolific breeders, not to mention the hordes of peons pouring unchecked over the southern border.

The result is inevitable. When whites are outnumbered by nonwhites the nation's standards will sink inexorably to third-world levels. Nonwhites (and most women of any color, for that matter) want government handouts, and will vote for anyone who offers them, i.e. Democrats and socialists (but I repeat myself). "

"The people are waking up, and once affirmative action and compulsory PC end, white people will again become a 90% majority in the US within a couple of generations, because they will have restored to them the birthright every decent nation affords to its own people. "

"When all the white people stop working, who will feed the trolls? He who has the money has the power, eh? So, let's take control of ourselves and let the government rule over their voter base ... have no fear of bad credit and [] relocate to a state where the men are men and where everyone is armed. I don't think the northern states will be a part of the future of the white race. "

"Yes, personal responsibility and financial independence are the hallmarks of being White, and underachiving financially and educationally, and being supported by the State are those of the Blacks. That's not me saying it, but Blacks themselves demonstrating it."

"People of color have many conservative values, and actually only need to be enlightened as to their best interests to form a conservative voting block. "

"Frightened semi-literate minorities are easy prey to people who pander to their starrey-eyed dreams. "

"One thing the GOP can say with complete accuracy, 'at least we're all Americans'. "

"The demographic trends are frightening, because the left in general and the Democrats in particular have been so effective at forging minorities and all sorts of identity groups into huge ethnic voting blocs that are impervious to any considerations beyond identity group or ethnic solidarity. "

"The Demos, the libs, the progressies, all insist that Blacks are so stupid they must have help in passing a test, and must be given much help in getting a job.
I think that the real life situation proves the stupid lefties are right. Other wise the Blacks and Wettt Backkks would be smart enough to join the Tea Party, and the Republican Party. "

"Nearly all blacks and mestizos will remain Democrat, because they need handouts, quotas and soft gubmint jobs to get by ... The masses of the cognitively incapable will feed off the rest of us, and use their political power to keep the racket going. The only way forward is to circle the wagons in your white-majority state, make life on handouts as hard as you can there, and join forces with similar states in seceding from the dysfunctional, doomed USA."

"We must place a moratorium on immigration both legal and illegal."

"...they are real Americans and not hyphenated-Americans..."

"The GOP is the party of the... real American"

Gee, and they wonder why they don't attract minorities. This sample doesn't even include comments by a poster going by "El Rushbo" who seemed clearly fake to me. As a few other posters tried to explain, it's not so much the racists in the GOP, as the rest who say nothing about it, that makes for PR problems. Notice that practically no conservatives in the discussion takes any of these posters to task for these comments. If 5 members of the Klan lynch the black guy living next door to you, and you and your 20 buddies do nothing but stand and watch, you can't be too surprised that the racist label comes your way too. Sometimes inaction speaks as loudly as action.

Friday, April 30, 2010

You've Never Seen the Pope Like this

I haven't laughed this hard in a long time. Do not not watch this video at work, or in the presence of sensitive Catholics. It's the kind of brilliant self-evoking humor the South Park guys have pulled off for years that wooshed right over the heads of it's targets.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tea Party Innumeracy

Tea Partier ignorance and intellectual dishonesty is sometimes something to behold. Check out the zinger on comment 97:

A Tea-partier claimed their ranks were made up of mostly Democrats and independents. When challenged on his claim, he produced these figures:

4% Democrat
+ 52% independent
= 56%, thereby a majority, via a CNN poll.

So, a poll which shows 96% of Teapartiers to be either Republicans or Independents gets presented as "a majority Democrats and independents" by the pushers of family values. Funny, the family values I was raised with didn't include gross innumeracy and/or intellectual dishonesty. By their logic, one could claim the majority of Teapartiers are child molesters...or morons.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

New Giant Garbage Island found in Atlantic

I guess we shouldn't be surprised that the Pacific isn't the only ocean with the garbage island problem. The Atlantic has one too.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dawkins and Hitchens Call for Arresting the Pope

Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have announced plans to have the Pope arrested when he visits Britain. This came after this evidence surfaced that the Pope was involved in covering up instances of child abuse by priests:

The Pope was embroiled in new controversy this weekend over a letter he signed arguing that the “good of the universal church” should be considered against the defrocking of an American priest who committed sex offences against two boys. It was dated 1985, when he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases.

The Pope should get no special privileges, and should be investigated the same as any other person accused of a crime, and let the evidence determine his innocence or guilt. Of course, this isn't going to happen, as no doubt those in charge in England will lack the cojones to actually do it.

But we can always pray.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Refreshing AP Honesty on the 'Activist Judge' Charge

It's nice to see the AP calling it like it is with the charge of being an 'activist judge':

Senate Republicans said the nominee should not be an activist, which they describe as someone driven by a preferred result rather than by the law. In practice, though, Republicans find that only liberal Democratic-appointed judges wear the activist label.

As the debates rage over Justice Stephens' replacement, just remember that 'activist judge', whatever it's theoretical definition, amounts to "a judge I disagree with".

Friday, April 9, 2010

Belated Easter Pic

This pretty much says it all.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Teabaggers Spel Gud

There's something immensely ironic about a group hyper-sensitive about English being spoken being so bad at it themselves. Here's my favorite:

Indeed, they are. Will America really be taken over by the most ignorant among us? November will tell.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Global Warming Eats Island

Global warming is now starting to eat islands in the Indian Ocean, giving us a new technique for resolving territory disputes. Meanwhile, the deniers continue to deny. I guess if it doesn't happen where they are standing, it isn't real, being so fond of the "were you there" line of evidence as they tend to be. Or maybe they just don't care because its happening to, you know, them.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tea Party Census Lunacy

An email came my way via the Tea Party crowd on the census, and since I haven't done a dissection recently, I thought I'd shine some light in the darkness on a few choice comments:

In the body of the letter it states;

Your response is important. results from the 2010 Census will be used to help community get its fair share of government funds for highways, schools, health facilities, and many other programs you and your neighbors need. Without a complete, accurate census, your community may not receive its fair share. I urge you to re-read the above paragraph.

Please note where it states, "help community get its fair share of
government funds for highways, schools, health facilities,
and many other programs you and your neighbors need."

Yes, this is known as "promoting the general welfare". It's mentioned in a little document known as the preamble to the Constitution, perhaps you should read it sometime.

Is this or is this not, what Stimulus was for, but we have
yet to see?

Ah, so if you don't see something it doesn't exist? Sort of like "no one was there when life began"? Would you even know it if you saw it? When was the last time you saw something outside your home state anyway? Or are you miseducated enough to think government activity is only legitimate if it helps you personally, or promotes agendas you support? What does the word "democracy" mean to you?

What have we been staunchly protesting? We have
been protesting out of control Govt. spending! Remember the
Corn husker Kickback? The Louisiana Purchase? Who decides
what is our "fair" share? SEIU? ACORN? Obama? Congress?

Um, congress, you know, that group elected by the people to represent and serve the people? Did you sleep through government class in high school? Or did your home school agenda skip that part?

We are all individual Americans and it is up to us, to
decide, as individuals, rather we continue to fall in line
and do as we are told, by this intrusive govt.

If filling out a piece of paper, so that government representatives know who it is they are representing, qualifies as "intrusive government" to you, I suggest you get out more. Most everyone east of the Atlantic, or south of the Rio Grande, would laugh at you.

I will be filling out the 2010 Census, but my response will
be limited to only informing them of how many people reside
in my home. If a 2010 Census worker shows up at my door, I
will have the United States Constitution in hand.

And they will rightly conclude that you have taken leave of your senses. Try reading that wonderful document instead of waving it at public servants in ignorance.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Boring Era?

Here's an interesting article on technological progress in recent years, and how we may overstate just how fast we are progressing.

My alternate Title:

Why Scientists Have Outperformed Politicians (and how those with power have better learned to hang onto it)

I would argue that the internet is every bit as transformative as the telephone and electricity, although that like most of our high tech gadgets were born in the 80's, and all they've done since is get smaller, faster and cheaper.

I would also argue that his criticisms have the implicit assumption that there is always somewhere to improve to, and thus could amount to seeing our rapid progress since the scientific revolution as some sort of fault. Maybe the bicycle really is the physically optimal structure from human propelled locomotion. Something has to be. And so it may be with nation-states, although it seems likely there is a more optimal structure for societies with over 400 million citizens in them than the one we use, since it was devised in a society with 1/100 that population. The big question is whether there is a transitional form if you will, from where we are to there. There may not be, at least not one without a lot of spilt blood.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hitchens on The 10 Commandments

Watch Christopher Hitchens improve the 10 Commandments". Commenter Jame Sweet nails the value Hitchens has for the atheists' cause, and why the "not scholarly enough" criticism doesn't fly for him:

If you want someone to go on Fox News for sixty seconds and defend the atheist position ... Hitchens is your man. I think it is exactly because of his willingness to fiercely pursue an argument with a weak or poorly-understood foundation that he is able to acquit himself so well in the fast-paced fact-lite world of cable news and other forms of mainstream media. He makes his point fast, furious, and forcefully, with no apologies, no equivocation, and no caveats. He tends to be difficult to take out of context, because each statement (when he's on these types of show) is fully self-contained. There's no nuanced case-building, just raw talking points delivered with passion and fury.

Exactly. Nuanced, detailed, and scholarly-correct arguments mean little in today's socio-political context. One need only examine the Global Warming e-mail scandal to see that. We certainly need the scholarly defense in our arsenal, and atheists have no shortage of that. But we also need the Hitchens of the world to parse it down into bite sized chunks.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Nastiest Funniest Political Joke at Palin's Expense

What's the difference between Sarah Palin's mouth and her vagina?

Only 20% of what comes out of her vagina is retarded.

Irony Galore in Mississippi Lesbian Prom Incident

In the great prom lesbian incident, we get a nominee for greatest ironic statement ever:

Southside Baptist Church Pastor Bobby Crenshaw said he's seen the South portrayed as "backwards" on Web sites discussing the issue, "but a lot more people here have biblically based values."

Right, you're not backward, you just live by a 2,000 year old rule book. And we wonder why reason doesn't work with these people.