Friday, November 16, 2012

The Vacuous Sermonette



The Forge will be off for a couple of weeks, one for the holiday and the other because my USDA job wants me to attend a school for learning how to use an iPad. Which means, I get to sit there and listen to someone explain to me for hours how to do something I already know how to do. But for all of that, let’s send the Forge off with a bang.

The subject is this vid I recently loaded on tektontv:


It took some time, but Sam Harris fanatics eventually found it – and gave me a perfect opportunity to discuss a fave tactic of fundy atheists: the vacuous off-topic sermonette. 

What do I mean by that? Well, check some of these comments on the vid:

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully. - Richard Dawkins

Nailed it. The devil was a saint compared to god. Silly people, myths are for kids.

**

Come on! How can anyone arrive at the conclusion that the bible s correct? Surely, you wouldn't believe that if it wasn't in your interest to do so. You believe it because it offers you hope and provides you with comfort. That's great but don't use the word truth to define it.

 **

This video still doesn't take away the fact that there are some barbaric sayings in the bible to begin with. Yeah, of course people can speculate about whether something was a "metaphor," or meant to be taken literally. But that is besides the point. If God is supposed to be omni-benevolent, as well as all powerful, then why have the confusion in the first place? He enjoys watching humans fumble around for meaning, and if they guess wrong, they are punished for it? It's all really bizarre.

**

Spin away, you ridiculous loser - it says what it says, and this is only one example among many. I'll bet you that not one in a million xians has the faintest clue about your tortured "reasoning" and will take this at face value, making even more tortured excuses for it! Your only saving grace, as it were, is that you can't be a biblical literalist.

**
Why are we even debating the scribbles of people from the Bronze age? When no one had any answers. No idea what caused crops to fail, weather patterns, celestial events, disease, atoms, gravity. Yet people believe that the all mighty omniscient God visited only these people in the desert, one time in history? This is so wildly insane and illogical that only a baseless, fact free, 'faith' could ever lead you to believe a word of this book as truth.

**

Sugar coat it and put a pretty face on it but it still doesnt hide the barbaric nature of the culture that wrote the bible. The bible is obsolete, written by desert dwellers with delusions and sheeple still lap it up as a word of god.


Notice something missing? Give yourself a steak dinner if you guessed, “they didn’t even touch the arguments in the vid.” That’s right. The vid is filled with details about things like the dramatic orientation of the Biblical world, human psychology, and so on. But not one fundy atheist deigned to address any specific point in the vid. Not one fundy atheist, not one point.

Not all were long-winded. Some were short, but no better at addressing arguments:

Tell me this is a joke...

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STRAWMAN! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! The stupid, it burns!

And here was the funniest of all:

Euthyphro's Dilemma.

Yes, that was it. What that was supposed to have to do with anything, I can’t say.
I re-read Keen’s book Cult of the Amateur this past week, and I know what’s going on. It’s not that hard to discern. Basically, a vid that presents such complex concepts is too far over the head of the typical fundy atheist – leaving them little alternative but to resort to pre-fabricated speeches or dismissive sound bites. Do we expect them to actually argue something like, “Well, no, their world wasn’t one of dramatic orientation”? Or, “the literalist reading of Ps. 137:9 is better because…”?

Perish the thought. Because their thoughts perished long ago.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Post Election Post Mortem

Now that another election has passed, I have some followup on a post I did last major election season two years ago (see link below).

I’ll start with an oddity I discovered this morning that I’m trying to resolve. Last time I noted that we lived just 9 houses in to a district run by a politician I called “Porky”, and that distance away from a district run by Daniel Webster, a rather genteel politician whose district we would have preferred to be in. Much to our surprise, we found that for 2012, Webster was on the ballot as the option for our US rep, against a Democratic challenger who likely would have been only slightly less effective. It was a much nicer race than Webster vs Grayson, to be sure, and we likely would have been happy with either of them winning.

But wait a minute. I checked our political map this morning, the one right from the US Government website…and it says we’re still part of Porky’s district.

Uh – what?

I’m hoping this simply means the Government website hasn’t been updated after redistricting yet. I’d hate to start another political scandal here in Florida.

More seriously, although I won’t discuss politics in depth here, I will offer some observations relevant to one of our themes here -- that of the ease of spreading misinformation.

Like many of you, especially in swing states, we got the obligatory pile of junk mail begging for our vote. (Not even the candidates who claim to be friendly to the environment seem to be able to stop sending those.) One of these concerned Webster, and was sent by what I assume was a PAC; it was not from his opponents’ campaign. It featured a picture of an SUV driving over Florida’s state line, and arrows labeled with things like “assault rifle” and “ammo for rifle,” etc. The charge on the flyer said, in effect, Daniel Webster supported a bill to allow violent criminals and sexual offenders to bring dangerous weapons like these into Florida.

From this, you might think they mean someone actually posted and sponsored a bill that directly said, “Bill to Allow Convicted Criminals to Bring Assault Rifles From Other States” and that Webster voted for it. That seemed way out of line, as did many such claims on these flyers, but just for fun, and knowing that something of that nature would be far out of character for what we knew of Webster, I decided to check it out.

Rather brazenly, the flyer included a bill reference – which I can tell they didn’t expect people to look up. Why? Because once you did so, it became clear even to someone as ignorant as a fundy atheist that the bill said no such thing.
Rather, the bill was (generally speaking) a proposal that Florida allow those who have guns in other states to be able to observe the laws of their home state concerning guns while they were in Florida. 

Now, arguably, it could be said, that MIGHT mean that if there were another state with much less strict gun laws (say, where a convicted criminal was allowed to have an assault rifle legally!), this MIGHT allow said criminal to bring in his rifle, and as a result of this permissive attitude (we assume) start firing away at innocent citizens. I’ll pare that down further by noting that technically, this only matters if said state that said criminal comes from or through is either Georgia or Alabama – which alone border on Florida. And then we have to ask why either GA or AL is allowing felons to have assault rifles in the first place.

Now, let me make this clear – on the surface, I’m not sure I’d support such a law anyway, even as stated. I’d have to do some serious research (if I were a US representative) before deciding on that. The point here has to do with the  brazen assumption by the distributors of this flyer that they can so easily get away with such a remarkable “spin”.

Of course they can. In the Wikipedia Age, they can rightly expect that less than 1 percent of those who receive the flyer will look up that reference. (Which is not always insignificant, of course – as in this case, where Webster won his race 52-48 percent.) And why not, when the same thing can be said of nonsense claims made by everyone from Acharya S to Jack Chick? Hardly anyone looks up the claims of these wackos. They either dismiss it or swallow it, and on we go.

Just one more reason why every election season, I’m sorely tempted to write in “Donald Duck” as a candidate for every post.




Friday, November 2, 2012

New YouTube Channel: TektonSlam!

I'll use this week's post to announce that I've started a new YouTube channel, TektonSlam. It won't be updated that often, but I'll be using it for parodies, humor, and personal stuff.