Politics

Misplaced Moral Outrage (At least I think so)

I was reading through some news here.  There’s a feud going on between a Georgia Representative and civil rights activist John Lewis and President Elect Donald Trump.  After referring to the president elect as “not a legitimate president”, Donald had the following to say
“Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results, All talk, talk, talk — no action or results. Sad!”

I’ve read it over and over. I agree with it except for perhaps the “all talk” part of the tweet.  I don’t know what John Lewis’ record as a representative is (and I’d be willing to bet a lot of money that Trump doesn’t either) but I would think that his civil rights record speaks for itself.  However, to say that this tweet demonstrates his disdain for the African-American community or that he is “spitting in the face” of all black people is simply ridiculous.  It does nothing of the sort.

Like it or not, Trump is the legitimate President.  All of this whining and moaning about him not being a legitimate president, or Russian hacking effecting the results of the election are starting to get really old.  Yes, he’s an idiot and an ignoramus and an egomaniac.  He won the election fair and square and whether you voted for him or not, whether you like him or not, he’s your President.  The democrats had their chance, and they blew it.  Just think how incompetent and out of touch you have to be to lose a general election to an illiterate orangutan internet troll.  (Granted Hillary won the popular vote but not the one that counted)  No really – sit and think about that.  Instead of railing against Trump, maybe try and figure out how you could f*&k something up so bad so you don’t make the same mistake 4 years from now.

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Religion

Reasons for Santa Claus

This is a post in tribute to my new found blogging adversary mrsmcmommy.  Her and her Dad are devout Christians.  How devout you ask?  Well, it’s hard to say.  They both have this habit of tap dancing, flailing their arms around and resorting to the Tu Quoque when asked direct questions.  But given that mrsmcmommy feels biblical slavery is justified, I think it’s fair to say that she is pretty devout.  Anyways, she directed me to one of her dad’s posts and I figured I’d have some fun with it.  See if you agree

I was at the mall last month during the holidays.

I walked around the stores and observed all the signs and decorations

There were a lot of things on sale and great deals

I’ve been to enough malls to believe that.

Of course, you can’t have a holiday season without a gift giver

So lo, there was talk of La Befana

La Befana is the bringer of presents

La Befana has a list of every single child who has been naughty and nice

La Befana can go around the entire world in one night

…this sounded vaguely familiar to me.

La Befana has nothing in common with Santa Claus!

How could it?

Ancient Italians weren’t getting presents by the light of lava fountains.

Yet those primitive people understood that somebody had to give everyone presents

Where did they get that idea?

At one point we learned about La Befana, The Italian Witch

Nobody really believes in La Befana anymore.

She is listed in the ‘myth’ column along with Kris Kringle, Julenissen, and a dozen other legendary gift givers.

Santa Claus is a different story.

Centuries later, Santa Claus still hands out millions of childrenwho believe in him.

To be sure, a lot of people put Santa Claus in the myth column too.

They think La Befana and Santa Claus are essentially the same thing.

They think this because they’re ignorant.

Or obstinate.

Whereas La Befana was created by St Nick

…St Nick was Santa Claus.

Santa Claus was that pre-existing source of mana into La Befana.

(The ad at the mall says it differently because it’s in English, not Italian…)

And Santa Claus didn’t leave any tracks behind

To be clear…

…I didn’t get all this from the ads at the mall

Don’t go to the mall expecting to find the answer.

We have to write our own answers.

Santa Claus gives presents to us every second of every day.

In Canada, the US, Italy,  the presents are being given and waiting to be discovered…

…by those who care to look for it.

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Critical Thinking, Religion

Hypocrisy or Irony or Both?

So first, let me just declare how wrong I was in regards to my last post.  I didn’t think Donald Trump had a chance at winning this election.  I honestly didn’t think that enough people would vote for a 70 year old, anti-science, conspiracy theorist, internet troll with the attention span of a toddler and the vocabulary of a 12 year old.  You sure showed me America.  Buckle up an enjoy the ride.  I think it’s gonna be a thriller.
I’ll also state however, that I don’t think that ALL of the people who voted for Trump are stupid or ignorant or hate women.  There are other legitimate reasons for Trumps victory that lie beyond that simple analysis.  Change – people tired of the same old same old.  Hillary Clinton’s very unsavory character – (pathological liar for instance).  That’s not to say that Donald Trump doesn’t have any of the same or even worse characteristics, but it levels the playing field.  Personally, I’m for change too, I just don’t think that Donald Trump is the man for the job.  I am genuinely concerned about his lack of knowledge on a great many subjects (like global climate change for instance).  If I have to pick a silver lining to this cloud, I at least hope I can say that Political Correctness is going to take a shit kicking, which I am thoroughly grateful for.  The PC, authoritarian, regressive left is becoming very menacing and it’s my hope that they’ll be taken down a notch or two in the next couple of years.

Anywho, on to the reason I am posting this.  There are many sources of entertainment in the world.  One of my favorite, is the kind that doesn’t appear to be intentionally written for the purposes of entertainment, but turns out to be awesome.  Reading though some responses on some of my old blogs posts, I found myself over at Eva’s site again and noticed that there were some updated comments on a particularly hot topic issue (her conversion to Christianity and subsequent blossoming into an all around more tolerant and accepting person for it).  I read the statement in quotes below and burst into a hysterical fit of laughter.

“Hi Justin, good to hear from you again. ‘Frustrating’ is one word for it! I actually received an email from someone who knows one of the ‘main protagonists’ so to speak, quite well, kind of filling me in on some details of that person’s life that meant I could feel nothing but patience and understanding for her (or him). It certainly made my ‘loving kindness’ meditation easier, anyway😉

You’d have familiarize yourself with the whole debacle that took place last spring by going here.  As far as I am aware, only tildeb and myself were the “protagonists”, but I don’t know anyone who could have emailed her claiming to know me “quite well, so to speak”.  From what little I know of tildeb, he likes to keep his private life to himself as well, and I have divulged very little details of myself, so I’m a little skeptical of the claim of the mysterious emailer knowing either us of “quite well, so to speak”
One other detail to bear in mind:  Both myself and tildeb have been banned from commenting on her site.  So considering that, I’d like to edit her above statement into something a little more accurate:

“Hi Justin, good to hear from you again. ‘Frustrating’ Point out an inconvenient truth that I am perpetuating a lie is one word for it way to describe it!  I actually received an email from someone who knows has dealt with one of the ‘main protagonists’ so to speak, quite well, kind of filling me in on some details of that person’s life on other blog posts but doesn’t really know anything about that person at all that meant I could feel nothing but patience and understanding for her (or him) had to ban him from speaking on my site forever because he/she was rude and intolerant. It certainly made my ‘loving kindness’ meditation easier, anyway😉 me feel secure in my own misguided irrational beliefs and knowledge that I am a morally superior person because I am no longer an “intolerant and angry” atheist.  It also ensured that nothing I ever say will ever be challenged by anyone who doesn’t share my views because I now have adopted a policy of banning all such people from commenting.
P.S. I am a VERY tolerant person.

 

 

 

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Critical Thinking

The Madness is almost over – sort of

There’s only 8 days to go until the US election and I cannot wait for this to be over.  I expect Hillary Clinton to win.  I’d like to think it will be by a landslide and all polls indicate it will be that way.  It is at this point that I cannot express enough condolences to any American readers of my blog.  To have to choose between an unscrupulous, sociopathic, pathological liar and an illiterate, ignorant, psychotic moron would seem to me to be extremely depressing.  If you want to listen to a great podcast about the utter lack of any human worth in either candidate, listen to Sam Harris’ “The Lesser Evil” – a conversation with Andrew Sullivan.  It was amazing, insightful, depressing and even slightly optimistic.  Both have very little good to say about Hillary Clinton but are voting for her and recommend that everyone else does too, because the alternative would be a million times worse.

It is at this point, that I think I would like to point out that the need for education reform in the United States is DIRE.  That Donald Trump has made it as far as he has – legitimately because large numbers of extremely paranoid, ignorant, stupid people voted for him in primaries – should be of great concern for any American who would like to see that their country remain a world super power.  The US is the one country that the UN doesn’t function without.  It’s the lynch pin that, as we learned in 2008, can have serious consequences on the stability of the global economy.  We can’t have a nation full of morons voting for another moron like Donald Trump to be at the helm of a world super power without there being some disastrous consequences.  This man should have been laughed out of the room when he announced his bid for the White House.  Why wasn’t he?  That’s a question that every concerned, patriotic US citizen should be asking themselves every single day.  The second question should be “How do we prevent this from ever happening again?”  My answer to the second question is robust education which places the highest value on critical thought, sound reasoning skills and the ability to discern between evidence and rhetoric.  My answer to the first question I think should be self-evident.

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Critical Thinking

Never Underestimate the Power of Stupid People in Large Numbers

I know that’s a very vague title for a post because it could be about pretty much anything, but in this particular case, the stupid people of Calgary City Council outnumber the smart ones by a ratio of 9 to 5.  That was the outcome of the vote to consider revising their 2011 decision to stop fluoridating city water.  5 said yes, 9 said no.  Now remember, it was not a vote to start adding fluoride to the water again – It was just a vote on a motion to merely consider the possibility that they might have made a mistake.

Read the article here

From a previous CBC article in February of this year (full article here)

“Lindsay McLaren, the researcher with the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine who led the study, told the Calgary Eyeopener‘s David Gray that there were more cavities in both Calgary and Edmonton over the period of the study, but “it got worse in Calgary, where fluoridation was stopped, than in Edmonton.”

McLaren said the study is clear about the cause and effect at play.

“We designed the study so we could be as sure as possible that [the increased tooth decay] was due to [fluoride] cessation rather than due to other factors,” she told the CBC.

“We systematically considered a number of other factors … and in the end, everything pointed to fluoridation cessation being the most important factor.” 

Still, those 9 councilors for the city of Calgary are not convinced enough to even reconsider their decision.  It was even treated as a “political hot potato” with likely some of those 9 councilors opposing the motion for purely political reasons. “He (Dr. Ghali) said even asking for the information could make it look like they were reopening the “very divisive issue” of fluoridation, just as they enter an election year.”

So I guess for now, politics trumps health concerns.

And this is why you should never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers.

 

 

 

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Critical Thinking, Religion

Templeton Foundation to Spend $3 Million To “Understand” Why People Don’t Believe in Bronze-Age Myths

Although the title of this post is my satirical parody, this is actually a serious question being posed by The Templeton Foundation.  “Understanding Unbelief” is the name of the “study”.  Read about it here

From reading the description, it sounds like a project, the purpose of which, is to categorize unbelievers based on “psychological and sociological” phenomenon.  The Templeton Foundation wants to know how other beliefs (about religion or the existential)  inform their unbelief and how those unbeliefs vary across groups and subcultures.
Sounds a little flawed to me from the outset.  This is simply my own opinion and I welcome challenges to it, but I don’t consider any other beliefs that I have about anything else to inform my atheism or “unbelief”.  It is simply a matter of examining the texts and claims of religion and finding that they are simply unbelievable.  They are completely irrational and illogical and can’t be believed by anyone who considers them with any objectivity and common sense.  I can’t bring myself to believe in talking snakes, in people who fly around on winged horses, in people who rise from the dead, and the need to create a race (humans) sick and diseased that then require a human sacrifice to be made to cure the sickness and disease.  This stuff is preposterous.  I’m not sure exactly how this is going to require $3 million to determine why people don’t believe things like that.

The study then goes on to state that it wants to find that answer that has already been asked and answered numerous times – in it’s own words “to answer big questions about the causes of ‘unbelief’ and its effects on such outcomes as personal wellbeing and social cohesion. ”
A simple search for “Most violent Countries on Earth” leads you here and a search for most religious countries on earth leads you here
I don’t think its merely a coincidence that the most peaceful countries on earth (Canada, Australia, Japan and large parts of Scandinavia and Europe) are also the most irreligious.
You need to spend $3 million on this type of question?  I don’t think so.  A few thousand perhaps.  All the research has already been done for you.

I look forward to reading the results of this study.

 

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Critical Thinking

An Example of How NOT to Communicate Effectively

So as a follow-up to my post yesterday regarding, open, honest and clear communication, I wanted to share this response from Barry today about a question on another post (Well that’s a shame…) I made back in May.  I don’t think the timing could have been more perfect.  I’m not sure what took so long for him to answer and why I had to moderate his comment and allow it on my site even though I have already approved his commenting on here, but that doesn’t matter.  All that matter is that I have an answer.

NOTE:  It’s been edited for space considerations.  This is the complete answer to my question, but the part of the complete reply that has been removed, deals with another debate regarding quakerism and is not relevant to this question.  If you wish to see the response in its entirety, go to the Well that’s a Shame… post on this blog and you’ll see this comment at the end of the reply chain.

Anyways, if you want you have a fantastic idea of what it is like to converse with a person who can’t say what he means and mean what he says, who has to talk in endless, meaningless, useless, pointless caveats, then here it is, in all its glory.

QUESTION:  So I guess I will ask the question then Barry.  Do you believe in God(s) (of any kind)?  Yes or No?

ANSWER:
Ashley, that’s like demanding a Yes or No answer to the question “Have you stopped beating your wife?“. Sometimes it’s not possible to give a simple yes or no.

So if you don’t mind, I’ll answer the question as if you’d asked “Do you believe in the existence of god(s) in a literal sense?“. No. If I was asked “Which is more likely: We find evidence that proves the existence of god(s) or we find evidence that proves giant moa still roam the Fiordland rainforests“, then I would choose the latter. I see as much evidence for god(s) as I do for flying pigs. Where am I giving myself wriggle room that you repeatedly claim I give myself? How many more times do I have to repeat this?

To summarise: (a) I do not believe in the existence of deities (or gods). (b) I live life based on the belief that there is that of God in everyone. I don’t believe either statement is in conflict with atheism or Quakerism. If the two statements cause you a problem, ponder what I might mean by “of God” (Hint: it’s not literal).

I love the comment about asking me where he is giving himself the wiggle room that I claim he gives himself after a) inserting the useless “literal sense” caveat into my original question and b)answers another question I didn’t even ask.

But seriously though, is there a point in me critiquing this nonsensical gibberish?

NEW DEVELOPMENT:

It gets even better!

Why is it so hard to answer the question “Do you believe in god(s) – Yes or No?  Because this!:  Barry’s answer: No doubt that’s true for you, but for me to answer it, I need to make assumptions about what you mean by “believe in” and “god(s)”.

 

 

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