Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Common Man is Better Than Everyone Else

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Dear Internet Diary,

There is a pervasive belief out there that "smart people," or rather, people who like to talk about ideas, more than talking about other people,

  • have little common sense
  • like to complain but don't offer solutions
  • think they are better than everyone else
  • don't live enjoyable lives
These beliefs were recently leveled at the Hellbound Alleee crew, on an internet audio show. While I managed to resolve the issue in as friendly a way possible, it continued to gnaw at me, possibly because I don't have a life, and possess no common sense.

As far as the charge that I think I'm better than everyone else (I think I'm sort of different, and I really want and try to be better), not only is this belief the reason people like to hate the French, it's a complete mirror reflection of the person making this charge. The fact is, people who hurl such charges against weirdos like me often point out their own elitism. They point at their pious humility, their status as a man or woman of "the people," the way that they are "just like you."

How condescending that is!

Since I am such a big man, and am too insecure to back down from such a challenge, I'd like to refute the accusation that because I am seen as an intellectual, I don't know "how to live life."

I happen to have lived more than enough, in fact, I probably should be dead, for all the stupid stuff I've done. But for all of that, I've lived, man. I've really lived.

I climbed mountains, rode rivers, fished and explored. I spent half my life as a performer, a singer, a concert violinist in musicals, symphonies, weddings, ceremonies and restaurants. I acted and directed plays, wrote musicals, juggled and performed acrobatics in a comedy troupe, wrote and conducted string quartets, and taught it all to children.

I hobknobbed with deadhead hippies, drag queens, transexuals, punk rockers, beatnicks, religious cultists, the clinically insane, the suicidal and post suicidal. I've mingled with rockstars like Kurt Cobain, Joan Jett, the Beastie Boys, Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, even stepping in to sing at a show. My best friend in school was the intellectual heir to Gloria Steinem.

I was a christian fundy, a liberal christian, a skeptic, an objectivist, an atheist, a democrat, a libertarian, an anarchist, and was there to help start third-wave feminism. Yes, I used the 3 r'd "grrrl."

I experimented with drugs, and had several torrid affairs with wonderful and awful boys, and amazing girls. I dealt with drug addicts, dealers, prostitutes, battered children and girlfriends, hardcore s&m fanatics, and even a cross-dressing, ex-con murderous rapist. I successfully fought off a crazed intruder in my home when I was only 20 years old.

I put down roots, had a non-traditional family, grew a garden, dug ponds, kept chickens, then left it all, my stuff, and my country, to live over 3000 miles away in a place where I can't speak the language, all for the love of a man I had seen in person once, for 2 wonderful weeks.

I've lived, and what I haven't done, Francois has.

The best part is, I'm not yet 40 years old. I've come into my age to discover that the point of it all is not the roller coaster ride, the excitement, the danger or confrontation. Some of it is the risk, the facing of fears, indeed. But the most important thing to understand in knowing "how to live" is how to appreciate, how to enjoy the still moments, the beauty around oneself. I know that if I died now--I's hate to--I wouldn't have missed out. But even better is that I still have half a lifetime to go. Who knows what I'm going to see and do?

So, in your face, superior, common sense, men and women of the people. I like to talk about ideas, and what comes with that is something called curiosity. That's what gets you some living. Lots of trouble, but lots of living. I'm not interested in a "whose better competition." That's a waste of time, when there is coffee to drink, ducks to feed, and cross-dressing rapists to confront.

Friday, April 28, 2006

See The God Who Wasn`t There for Free!

A message from Reggie Finley, the Infidel Guy:

I thought I'd send off a quick email to let you know that Brian Flemming's Movie/Documentary, "The God Who Wasn't There" will be airing
on the front page of tomorrow @ 4PM ET. That's April 29th @ 4PM ET.

All you need to view is flash. I'll have the actual movie playing right from the front page at Spread the word. The documentary isn't considered the "best" but it does have a few doosies that many Christians might NOT have considered.

Look! They're Writing About Us!

Pharyngula has an article about Melinda Barton's column about Secular Whackjobs!

Well, you know what they say. There's no such thing as bad publicity.

Outrageous claim number 1: Atheism is based on evidence and reason and is philosophically provable or proven. Atheism is a matter of thought not belief. In other words, atheism is true; religion is false.

Holy shit, I'm worse than a whackjob! I'm either insane or crazy! But, Melinda, I already knew that. So what are you gonna do, bitch? Huh? How will you eliminate me from your midst?
The religious nutballs on the extreme right have kept us rational lefties so busy that we've neglected an important although onerous duty -- cleaning the atheist whackjobs out of our own attic, the extreme left.
Never mind. I cleaned myself out of the "extreme (whackjob) left." So I guess I did your job for you, Melinda. Now you're going to have to figure out how the term "extreme left" jibes with the term "rational." That should take you so much time to figure out, none of us will have to hear from you, ever again. Right?

(Not holding breath.)

You're Lying on the Shag Rug in Front of the TV...

And then you fall asleep, dreaming...

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Why Are Atheists So Mad? Rabbi Gellman, Of Course

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I really hate sayiing this because I am a pussy, but in the interests of equal anger towards the religious (and I always want to be fair): Fucking Jews.

Here's one thing rabbi and I agree on: I'm an angry atheist. So watch my ire.

In this Newsweek article, Rabbi Gellman just doesn't get it. Why are we so angry? There's absolutely no reason for atheists to be such angry attackers of religion.

So we disagree about God. I'm sometimes at odds with Yankee fans, people who like rap music and people who don't like animals, but I try to be civil.

Yeah, Rabbi Gellman. That's it. The issue of the creator of the universe and the final word on Morality itself is like baseball games and 50 Cent. Atheists are angry because we just won't even try to be Civil. Speaking of civil...

A Civil Discussion

I gather he hasn't listened to that recording. I rather thought the irony would be obvious, though: that hell-believers insist we atheists should be "civil." Yes, yes, shut up already. I know Jews don't do the whole brimstone thing. Read the damned article:
I don't know many religious folk who wake up thinking of new ways to aggravate atheists, but many people who do not believe in God seem to find the religion of their neighbors terribly offensive or oppressive, particularly if the folks next door are evangelical Christians. I just don't get it.

He doesn't get it, so obviously I am not interested in civility. Of course, he misses the point that, while "normal" people like to pick on each other, Giant Atheists like me, and Dawkins (me and Dawkins, I love it!) attack religion. It's not our fault that many religious people find themselves so inextricably tangled up in their beliefs, they don't know where the religion ends and their personhood begins. So if one of us angry atheists so much as suggests the Ten Commendments are evil, and Yahweh is a maniacal dictator, they manage to be personally offended. Jesus. I know you like the book, but I don't. Don't pretend that I ripped your heart out. You're starting to sound like one of those Star Wars/Comic Book Guy people.

DC is superior to Marvel. Discuss. But don't bite.
(I read Fantagraphics.)
This must sound condescending and a large generalization, and I don't mean it that way, I have to say it and you can't get mad...
but I am tempted to believe that behind atheist anger there are oftentimes uncomfortable personal histories. Perhaps their atheism was the result of the tragic death of a loved one, or an angry degrading sermon,
Remember that snake, Rabbi? Temptation is the devil giving you a trouser-kiss.
All religions must teach a way to discipline our animal urges, to overcome racism and materialism, selfishness and arrogance and the sinful oppression of the most vulnerable and the most innocent among us.
You get that? All religions must. So says the Rabbi, Amen.
I can't help being a tad confused, though. You see, you just can't overcome materialism. The world is material, and we are material, and that's just the way it is. Sure, he's talking about "wanting stuff," not philisophical materialism..or is he? That's sort of a big issue with clergy. I tend to think he's talking about both of them, through both sides of his mouth.
But if he wants to end arrogance, I'm afraid he'll end up tossing religion. Arrogance like teaching that morality is the domain of God and Temple.
But our world is better and kinder and more hopeful because of the daily sacrifice and witness of millions of pious people over thousands of years.

That's our quarrel, in a nutshell. Our world is better because of the hard work and dedication of scientists, technicians, thinkiers and artisans who witness not miracles but fact and observation, leading us away from the darkness that was brought by the pious, and the glorification of sacrifice and pain.. How's that for a little positivity, which Good Rebbe says we atheists lack?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

You're Taking It Out of Context!

Dear Internet Diary--listeners,

Do you have a blog? Does anyone read it? How about we do a little experiment, ok? Post a passage from the Jewish/Christian bible, preferably something completely outrageous, with lots of blood and cruelty. That should be easy; there's plenty to choose from. Just Deuteronomy alone could be your sole source for months, what with all its stoning of pagans and lippy pre-teens, and desperate mothers eating their newborns.

Just post it. Don't comment.

Place in a sunny window for awhile, and before you can say "moral realism," you'll get your results, peeking their bitter little sprouts towards the sun:

You're taking it out of context!

Such a succinct accusation. As brief as a Scientologist pointing a finger and asking, "What are your crimes?" (Tone 40.) That's it, you're defeated. And I'm totally jealous!

What about ME?!?

What if I want to commit atrocities; what if I want to encourage moral outrage, and justify it? Where do I go? Where's my re-interpretable, absolute scripture? Where's my "you're taking it out of context?"

Our only recourse, my filthy heathen friends, is to emulate Christian principles and practices by borrowing their concept.
  • If you're caught illegally wiretapping? "You're taking it out of context."
  • Discovered in bed with the girlfriend of an ex-boxer? "Out of context!"
  • Confronted by Jesus Christ's glowing, shining, glorious caucasian face on Judgement Day, and he reminds you that you're a poop-eating, disgusting, syphallitic atheist, BOUND for the Lake of Fire? "But Lord," you should say, "You're taking it out of context!"

If anyone understands that phrase, it would have to be the lord.
Judging from the astounding number of times I've witnessed the use of that phrase by the faithful, I think it was written on a sign and hung above his head on the cross. Either that, or "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani" actually means "You're taking it out of context!"

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Bananas Gone WIld!

It seems that the banana video has new life!

I posted about this nonsense way back in the olden days, but now I'm hearing about it all over the place. On Penn Jillette's show, on Normal Bob Smith's blog, on J-Walk Blog. I always knew I was a woman before my time. Perhaps in a couple of months the reality meme we're trying to spread will catch on, and the monkeys will think they knew it all along?

Also, please buy and read the trilogy His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman. If you have any criticism of Christianity, you'll be so glad you did. I'm serious.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Leah's not Even Trying

----Original Message Follows----
From: Leah Hutson

Subject: RE: READ NOW
Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2006 17:59:18 -0700 (PDT)

I do read my Bible

No you don't. You have read dribs and drabs. You didn't even know that the bible says to stone disobedient children. You shouldn't lie like that, about the bible. Isn't God supposed to know if you do that?

" and my boyfriend would NEVER tell me that. If he did wouldn'[t have a boyfriend, but you don't compare Jesus to a boyfriend. "

That's called "moral subjectivism," Leah. That means wishy-washy morals. If you want to convince me that your morality is real and has any substance, your rules must apply to EVERYBODY. But they don't apply to God here. You'd break up with any man who said that, and that's good. But that's what god says, LEah, and you worship him for it. So if it's a good thing to say, either EVERYONE should say it, or you should break up with God. You can't be moral if you don't.

"And, Jesus died for us so that we all wouldn't go to Hell and if He didn't we all would pay for our sins. "

Why then did God make a rule so that people should go to hell for -- Adam and Eve's-- sins? Tell me why people who don't believe in God should be tortured forvere, Leah? I'm waiting.

So, when He died it gave us an option, and you aren't choosing the right one. He doesn't want to you to burn forever but He gave you the choice because He cares SO much.

Your fictional character made this hell, and he made the rule. If he cared so much, he wouldn't send people who don't believe in him there, people like little jewish and hindu children. People like rabbis and doctors who save people from cancer, people with mothers and babies and people who do really good thing, but were born in a different country that doesn't believe in Jesus. And God made a rule and he made a hell, according to your fantasy story. So again. WHY?

"He could have not cared and just let us all burn in Hell. So there is the answer to your two questions."

That is certainly an answer I would give an F to. But I'll give you another chance, Leah. Why does God have to have people tortured forever for not believing in him?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Where's Waldo? An Interactive Hellbound Alleee

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - An Oregon man who went to a hospital complaining of a headache was found to have 12 nails embedded in his skull from a suicide attempt with a nail gun, doctors said.

Surgeons removed the nails with needle-nosed pliers and a drill and the man survived with no serious lasting effects, said a report on the medical oddity in the current issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery. The unidentified 33-year-old man was suicidal and high on methamphetamine last year when he fired the nails into his head.

The nails were not visible when doctors first examined the man in the emergency room of an unidentified Oregon hospital a day later. Doctors were surprised when X-rays revealed six nails clustered between his right eye and ear, two below his right ear and four on the left side of his head.

No one before is known to have survived after intentionally firing so many foreign objects into the head, said the report, written by Dr. G. Alexander West, the neurosurgeon who oversaw the treatment of the patient.

The man at first told doctors he had had a nail gun accident but later admitted it was a suicide attempt.

The nails came close to major blood vessels and the brain stem but did not pierce them. The patient was in remarkably good condition when he was transferred to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, where the nails were removed.

The patient was later transferred to psychiatric care and stayed under court order for nearly a month before leaving against doctors' orders.

This is exactly how I think belief affects society. Can YOU spot the connection? Can YOU make a clever statement showing how drilling nails into one's head is connected to religion? If so, post a comment on my blog, at .

Friday, April 21, 2006

Video: Scientology Demonstration

Watch the Scientologists go nuts and scare the police.

By the way, there are three others.
I fantasize about being there, and in my fantasy, I would be holding a copy of L Ron Hubbard's History of Man, or whatever it's called. I would reveal OT8 information, and they would all have to get audited for a few days.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


(Hey, it's 4/20 today! Time to paty. And I don't mean Hitler's birthday.)

It's not from you dirty poop-throwing monkey moral subjectivists, though. This time it's from our Common Enemy, the 16-23 year-old Christian Female.

For example:

----Original Message Follows----
From: Emily Walker
Subject: Fwd: For your info
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2006 10:24:06 -0700 (PDT)

First of all you wouldnt have to worry about the rapture if you were right with God and accepted him as your personal Savior. Its not like oh my gosh the worlds gonna end what are we gonna do? God didnt say everyone is going to be left behind and you have no choice.He said he was going to prepare a place (Heaven) for those who accept and know him. Also there is no way you can survive the rapture. Do you have any idea what its going to be like?

There is going to be earthquakes, life size bugs, massive torture, the mark of the beast, the environment will be so bad you could not survive, and the only way to get food and the things you need is to get the mark of the beast (666) and signifies the Devil. Just to let you know Hell is 100 times hotter than an oven that is all the way turned up. And if that doesnt give you a clue about what its going to be like I dont know what will help you to understand that the rapture is not some thing to get a big debate on. Maybe
you should tell others about Jesus and how he died on a cross for our sins not just give them tips how to survive the rapture. He's the only way to survive the rapture. Maybe you should tell them that.

Emily: Who told you that I give people tips on how to survive the Rapture? There is simply no such thing. So why would I accept an imaginary something as my personal something to save me from an imaginary event that won't happen? Why in the world would you expect me to tell people to follow a religion I am morally and intellectually opposed to?

If your boyfriend said to you: "You have to believe me, or I will torture you," what kind of a person would that make him?

Just for fun, let's figure out how hot hell is. Emily says it's "100 times hotter than an oven turned all the way up." My oven goes up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit. (290 C). That's 55,000 degrees F (29,000 C).

Let's see how accurate Emily is! Do YOU know your bible?

According to this site, (Isaiah 30:26 reads "Moreover, the light of the Moon shall be as the light of the Sun and the light of the Sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days.") hell is pretty much only 833 degrees F (445 c) while heaven is 975 (525). I know where I would rather be. But you guys knew that.

Edited to add:

Leah sent me two more emails today. The latter had a bunch of photos from the movie The Passion of the Christ. I think she considers them documentary evidence. Here are some of them:
Jesus Porn 1
Jesus Porn 2
Jesus Porn 3

I could be a bitch and send her back some photos of deformed babies and Tsunami victims, but I won't, because I am a better person than she. But here is what I answered:

Leah, I am thoroughly disgusted. Why do you send me these pornographic, sadomasochistic images?

It's okay, though. I understand that it's all studio magic. In fact, the Jesus in that movie that was bleeding--reportedly in the movie enoguh blood for 3 and a half people--was a muppet created in the Jim Henson studio.

Isn't it awful what people do to each other in the name of religion? Back then, many, many people were crucified and suffered: interestingly, they were crucified at an angle, or upside - down. Lucky Jesus, eh?

It's sad to think how many people in this world (children, especially) suffer far worse for much more than three days, of disease. It's a good thing that medical science doesn't rely on belief, and we should both hope that in the future, we can eliminate government that lies about morality relying on belief, or popularity. We know that morality is based on fact, not belief. We need to stop the practice of governments killing people, because it makes people believe that nobody is responsible for killing an innocent live individual.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Email from Leah part Two

---Original Message Follows----
From: Leah
Subject: RE: READ NOW
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2006 09:44:31 -0700 (PDT)

"I do beleive in what is real! I can prove it. "

If you can prove what you belIEVE (I before e except after c) , you'll be the most important person in all of history! Have you contacted the media yet?

"All your doing is blasphemey and that is wrong! "

( When you want to say "you are," you need to place an apostrophe in place of the a.)
Oh, I do a lot more than blasphemy. I'm making moral judgements against your text. What are your arguments against what I'm saying? Are you saying that God didn't kill all the people in the world, in the bible? What kind of a person does that?

"Maybe you should consider taking your website off the internet because for those who don' t know your basically telling them it's ok to go to Hell. "

No, I'm saying that not only is it NOT okay to go to hell, it's not okay to think that it is just and correct that people should go to hell for not believing. It's not okay, because it's not true, and it's not okay, because people do not deserve to be tortured forever because they do not believe. Can you tell me why you would worship someone so unbelievably cruel as to set up a system where people who don't believe are tortured forverer? That is wrong, Leah. You're not a very nice person.

"Why would you want an innocent person to be condemned to eternal burning and torture? Talk about us; you say we don't care about others well, look in the mirror. You do know how horrible Hell is don't you? Why would you condemn yourself (if you want to be selfish about it) to Hell? I just don't get it??? I believe you need to just at least find a chruch nearby and if you don't believe what I'm telling you, talk to a preacher. It really hurts my heart to know you just don't care and want to condemn yiourself to eternal fire, darkness, and burning?? What is is??"

You couldn't be more wrong, Leah. I do care. I care about people, and I think it would help them to know that they don't have to believe in something so cruel and unbelievably wrong. They need to know that they are good people, especially when they can look at the facts and determine what is right and wrong. It's good to be able to look at the rules set up in the bible and realize how wrong they are. In fact, we already have, many years ago. That's why we don't do things that God said were okay in the bible: things like owning slaves and beating them. We have real penalties for rape, unlike in the bible, where you have to marry the man who raped you. Isn't that terrible, Leah? We also made it illegal to kill and beat our children, for "talking back" to us. It not only says it's okay, Leah, it says we MUST kill our children if they are naughty! But we are smart enough to see how real people can get along in the world, so we know that those things are very, very wrong.

By the way, Leah, I have "a church" next door to my house! But I used to go to church, for many many years. But you have to understand: because I studied the bible very hard, and read about the teachings of Christianity, it would be deeply immoral and dishonest for me to go to that church.

Does it matter to you which church I go to, kiddo? What if I told you the church next door was THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY, where they teach you can move objects with your mind, and that your body is made up of invisible space aliens? Well, you said I should just find a church, right? Actually, the space aliens aren't much different, because our soul is supposed to be invisible, too, and God is kind of a space alien that lives "up there" somewhere.

But I'm just kidding. The church next door is catholic, where they believe that the big bread cracker becomes Jesus and I have to eat him and drink his blood. They think it REALLY happens, Leah! Isn't that crazy? Why do you want me to go there? But it's okay, because they only speak French there, and I wouldn't understand. don't think that they would be able to change me back into a Christian. It's pretty unlikely anyone could.

Buit if God is real, he could, couldn't he? Do you think God might want me to be this way? Or is he powerless? It's okay, though, Leah. There's nobody up there hearing your thoughts, and am not sending the Devil Azazel to your house right now to come visit you at night and make you do bad things. That's because I don't believe.

Hellbound Alleee

Why Does Christianity Persist?

Dear Internet Diary,

Christianity persists because we are afraid of authority figures.
Christianity persists because atheists will rush back to church when they have babies.
Christianity persists because we protect untrue pronouncements from ridicule.
Christianity persists because we still think that it's better to make people comfortable than respect them with the truth.
Christianity persists because we are afraid to take responsibility for ourselves and our moral judgement.
Christianity persists because we insist on believing the truth is relative.
Christianity persists because we still believe that majority opinion is truth.
Christianity will persist because atheists still insist that morals and values are based on belief.
Christianity persists because we place God-belief in a category seperate from belief in every single other belief anyone has ever held.
Christianity persists because we "special plead" morality and values away from our demand for facts in the rest of our lives.

Christianity has more than Christians to keep it alive. It has us.

Condi's Photo-Op with Evil Dictator

At this point, the administration is just saying "fuck it. We might as well just go all-out. We're all lame ducks, so we might as well go out in a blaze of glory."

Story via J-Walk Blog

Condi Rice had a nice meeting and photo-op last week with Equatorial Guinean President Teodoro Obiang Nguema: Rice Calls Brutal Oil-Rich Dictator a Good Friend'.

For those who are keeping score, Nguema came in at #10 in Parade magazine's Annual List of World Dictators, and he was featured as Dictator of the Month in March of 2005..

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Email from Leah

----Original Message Follows----
From: Leah Hutson
Subject: READ NOW
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2006 10:09:54 -0700 (PDT)

First off, I don't think it's right telling people that they can survive the Rapture. There will be a rapture but in the end your either going to Heaven or Hell. I don't beleive you can just not take the mark of the beast. That's how you get food, clothes, medicine, etc. If you believed in Christ Jesus and all He's done for you there would be no reason for theis website. Have you seen the Passion of the Christ? You wouldn't even be able to try to believe this if you had that movie is so awesome. Just think about all this one man went through to save you and before you were born he knew you would have this website. Isn't that awesome? I just wanted to tell you Jesus loves you so much, He died a slow and painful death that no man could go through and I don't know how you can even think about wanting to go through the Rapture. Hell is going to be horrible and after the Rapture that is where you'll go because after 7 years the Lord will defeat Satan and all that is left will
go to Hell. I just wanted to fill you in on this and if you want to debate with me about this then so be it. You have my e-mail address and I 'm ready to take a challenge.
Thanks for hearing me out.

My goodness, we are demanding, aren't we?

Of course, if I believed in Jesus, there would be no reason for my websites. But I don't. So what's the problem? You believe in stuff that's not true. Why? And why should it matter to me if you believe in all kinds of scary monsters and demons and dead ghosts who love you? I think you're better off not believing in all that scary stuff.

Did you know that all gods came from the same place? People's heads--people who didn't know how the world really worked. Now that we know a lot more than we did, it's not amazing that we don't make up gods--gods that look a lot like we do. Everyone's gods are made in their images. What is confusing is why would you want to believe in the god that is going to destroy the whole world except for some "special" people, for a second time? I mean, God tried, in the story, the first time, to kill everyone and start over. But it didn't work. People got "bad" again. "Bad" means some of them don't believe in him.

What would you think if you had a boyfriend who said he would kill you if you didn't love him? You'd call him a murderer, or sick. But you have a religion that's called "morally subjective," so your emperor doesn't have to live by the same rules as everyone else. Luckily, we have something called "morality," so we know that this is wrong. If you want to say something is bad or good, it has to be the same for everyone, or it doesn't mean anything.

I don't care if you think you have proof, or if you cry more than me when you're happy about your master, and you like being a slave. The teachings are still immoral, and if you live by them, you're immoral, too.


Did You Know All the Gods Came from the Same Place?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Question for Relativists 1

You probably know that it is not a good idea to live your life by faith. If someone just tells you a gun is not loaded, you do not point it at your face and shoot without weighing the facts. You don't put your hand on a hot stove burner just because it is still not red, because you "believe" that it is not hot. You do not cross the street on faith. You do not automatically believe all claims. That would be silly.

The question is, if you base your knowledge on reason, why do you claim to make moral decisions based on faith?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Sally and Cy: Morality In Action!

Sally and Cy

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Sally loves her cat, Cy. She feeds him, cleans his litter box, and brushes his coat. She knows that if she doesn't do these things, Cy could become sick, or run away.

But Sally loves Cy, so she treats him well.

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When Sally is good to Cy, he will sit in her lap and purr. It makes Sally happy.

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Sally works hard to make Cy happy, because she values him. A Value is something that we work to keep.

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Sally tried to feed many things to Cy, but he will only eat fish. We call this a fact.

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Sally knows that Cy won't use his litter box if it isn't clean. This is a Fact.

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Sally knows that if she doesn't brush Cy...

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...he will lick up all his loose fur, and it will make him sick--all over the floor! Yuck! This is a Fact, too.

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If Sally wants to keep Cy, who she Values, she must do these things. This is called Morality. Morality is what we use to figure out how to keep the things we value.

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Sally knows the facts about how to keep Cy happy. Sally's using morality!

  • Fact: Something we know
  • Value: Something we want to keep
  • Morality: What we use to figure out how to keep our values by using facts!

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If you value pretty, strong teeth, you brush them every day.

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If you value your favorite toy, you take good care of it.

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If you value your best friend, you are nice to him.

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What do you value?
How do you work to keep it?


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Even if you all are drooling little relativist wackos, I know you care about this cat.

NYC Cat Finally Rescued After 14 Days

NEW YORK - After 14 days trapped in the innards of a Greenwich Village building, Molly the cat finally emerged wearing a look on her face that said, "What's all the fuss about?"
As a crowd of reporters and onlookers jostled for a glance, the 11-month-old black cat appeared docile and unscathed despite her ordeal, which came to a happy end on Friday after a volunteer pulled her to safety from a crawl space."I think you'll all agree that she is in great shape," said a proud Peter Myers, a delicatessen owner in the building who kept Molly in his store to catch mice.

Friday, April 14, 2006

See What I Fucking Mean?

It took a few minutes to get exactly the kind of responses to my post on morality. It makes me feel great, because my whining and complaining on the original post is justified. You guys have to find a way to heal yourselves of the virus of religion--and, if not religion, the beliefs of the state, or democracy. You're supposed to be atheists, goddamnit, act like atheists and stop using belief to run your lives.

I need to hear from relativists, and I want them to explain to me why they think they are justified in using belief to make life decisions, and why they think they should not use facts to evaluate the beliefs of others. Even though they do. Every day. I would also like someone to explain to me how they know that their cultures hold values, and how majority makes concepts true.

This is just the beginnning, All Ye Relativists. Our ragtag group that would have called ourselves "counter-culture" (which can't exist, according to you) a couple decades ago, will be poisoning the internet with the terrible, horrible idea that moral decisions are evaluated by fact, and no matter how much you might love the idea of "culture," you can't escape the laws of the universe. It will be painful, and no doubt it will be invigorating.

By the way, you are not allowed to argue with me using facts, because that would just be silly.

Found a Blog

Here's some laugh-out-loud reading for the modern heathen: God's Loyal Opposition, striaght outa Riffa, Bahrain.. An excerpt:
Many people claimed during my career as a prophet...errr advocate of atheism that I didn't know jack squat about Islam and Muslims. Even though for an earlier part of my life I held many records and the best youth muslim as I have under my belt: Three molested goats, Ten inch beard, ten inch white dress, ten inch towel and took part in three suicide bombings successfully....errr crap, I messed up. Anyways most of them claimed I'll be back to Islam as a powerful figure (Anti- Muhammed?) and I'll be reborn..kind of like evanglican Islam. So I am now reborn and now I pray to biggest PS2 in the world: The Kaaba in Mecca.

Read it now, before they cut off his hands.

I found out about this blog courtesy of The Atheist Jew. So read his blog, too.

Morality: Is it Different from Everything Else? Many Atheists Think So.

Dear Atheist,

You like facts and science, don't you? When determining the truth of a situation, we must use reason, and reason means using facts. So far, I know you agree with me.

I know you agree with me, because I know that you use facts and information to determine whether or not certain unnamed deities exist or existed. If the facts don't present themselves, you don't allow yourself to believe, or, if you are bolder, you say you are pretty sure they don't exist.

Say you want to buy a new house. This is a very important decision that will affect you life, and the lives of your family. You must decide whether you can afford this house by knowing the facts about your income and credit. You must decide which house to buy, based on facts like location, size, repair, number of rooms, and value. Because this decision affects your and you family's life, the decisions involved in buying this house are moral decisions.

But you balk, because I just said "moral." There's nothing that gets me into tiffs with other atheists more than when I use the term "objective morality," for the sole reason that I say morality is based on facts.

It seems really weird to me that this one issue is a deal-breaker for you. It's almost as if you think that morality either should be left to religion, or that there just isn't any such thing, or morality is only decided through a kind of democracy within some ethnic group. That's the part that gets me. An atheist should be the absolute last person to claim that democracy can ever determine the truth of anything. After all, just because there are a billion Christians doesn't mean Christianity is true. (And if you say "it's true for them," you're not allowed to participate. Just go into the corner, suck your thumb and replay The Matrix in your mind.)

But you still do it, because "morality is different." Morality is only about opinion, and tradition, unlike every single other thing in the universe. Morality is special.........


I think I know why this emotional reaction comes out in most atheists to the point where they are no longer able to reason about this, only rationalize. It's because of religion. You managed to reject most everything from religion, except you still believe them about morality. They say their religion is objective, and you say it is not. You would be right of course. Christian theory about morality is totally wrong in that it is totally subjective. Any individual Christian, though, would be nuts to base his morality on the subjectivity of a belief in this deity. If he based his moral decisions on facts, and most of them do anyway, while pretending it's God, he'll be moving toward a better decision. You should know better than anyone that making any decision disregarding facts and relying solely on belief and culture is foolish. But I hear you all the time saying "it's good to them, it's better for them."

It's only better for them if their government is holding a gun to their heads if they don't make fake decisions based on their culture. At that point, the only morality involved is survival. Which is still a moral decision based on fact now, isn't it?

You don't like me saying that morality is objective, because you think it means that I think I can impose "my values" on you. That there is One Standard, like God, that gets imposed on everything. "That's just not right!" I hear you saying. But you must know, as an atheist, that the standard is inescapable. It's called the laws of nature. If you think you can escape those, even with what you think are fuzzy moral decisions, you shouldn't be an atheist. Because no matter how fuzzy you think morality is, even if you think it's some kind of floating ghost in the universe, even if you think it doesn't exist, causality, sure as gravity, does.

The thing is, I know you make most of your decisions based upon the facts in the situation, and the fact of your own values. Your values tell you why you make decisions, and the facts inform them. However, values are evaluated by facts. If the value is faith, you would be the first to evaluate that value--through facts. Your morality is not some dream or wish based on the colour of your skin, or how spicy your momma's food is. Your morality is a science. So get with the program and be honest with yourself. After all, if it's "good" for a certain culture to kill all atheists, then you should by all means surrender--unless you want to go ahead and evaluate their "moral decision" based on facts.

For more on this, visit my husband's blog at Goosing The Antithesis.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

All Names Have Been Changed

Hi. My name is Suzie and I am 22 years old, and I have recently read your article:

And I need to say just a few things about this article. Yes, I must admit that I do agree with a lot of what you are saying. In fact, your comments on Weight Watchers had me rolling on the floor laughing! I have also been to those meetings, and yes, they basically make me sick! But anyway, I feel that I must get in contact with you after reading this article. Because, I too, have been overweight my whole life and trying to fix it with different excerises and diets. And finally, I found one. First Place. I know that you do not know how you stand with your religion, but I must say, I could not read your story and go another second without telling you the joy I have found in my Savior and Lord. I am not writing this for any reason except for the fact that I feel I need to. Not to cram religion down your throat or even diet and exercise for that matter: because I know that is the absolute worst way to get anything accomplished. And I am sure you
have gotten other emails along these same lines. But please, just hear me out. I am in the same boat as you, except for the fact that I did not stop believing in the one promise that will hold true no matter what...the promise of Jesus Christ and the promise that one day soon I will be in heaven praising my Master. The last thing that I need to say to you is that I am praying for you from here on out. And if you would like, please email me back and let me know how you feel about this letter. But I thought it may be comforting for you to know that I am praying for you. Thank you for your time, energy, and humor you put into this article.



Thank you for your very nice letter.

Unfortunately, I might not say what you want to hear. I am very glad you enjoyed my article. But you see, I am not simply a "non-religious person." I am, in fact, a professional atheist. They call me "Hellbound Alleee."

You see, the day that I realized that starvation diets were worthless and harmful was the day I realized that the most harmful thing in my life was letting others, real or believed, take the blame for my deciisions, and also, more importantly, relying on others to direct my life morally. The day I gave up nonsensical diets was the day I stopped hating my physical body--the body that I am told is unimportant and worthless in a life directed by the pursuit of meeting Jesus in heaven.

The bible teaches that human natire and earthly pursuits are parts of nature, and those are the things we should reject. We are supposed to focus on the shadowy reward we are told we will receive after death, as long as we continue to be very sorry for--not our sins, really--but being human. The fact that we are descended from Adam and Eve (a couple I do not believe existed, and of course, the fictional characters were not wicked at all) means that we deserve hell. That's just not right.

Some people would assume that I would go ahead and say "the body doesn't matter. It's what's in your 'heart' that matters." Balderdash. I am my body, and everything about me is part of my body. There is no part of me that floats around me like some kind of ghost, or lives caged insiide me, waiting to get out. I celebrate the life that I live, and there can be no dispute that it is my body that lives it, and enjoys it. Hating that body, for all its faults, can get me nowhere in this life that lasts for only a short while, and then ends. I intend to live it as well as I can.

That means I must reject the rejection of the physical, and the denigration of the human being as reprobate. My religion is the world, not anti-world. That world that includes cake--something good--and health and philisophical quackery--something bad.

I hope you understand this is nothing against you personally. It is only against a belief system that I think got it all wrong in the first place, then got out of hand. Then the kids get involved, and it sometimes is just too late. And that's too bad. But I understand how it feels to be full of something we think is love for Jesus. I just think that the love is misplaced, that's all. The love part is good, though.

Bush in Free-Fall.

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No, really. Watch bush in a free-fall, and help him through it. actually, it's kind of fun just to watch.

Oh, yes, and just to keep this fresh:


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The War on Easter, Alleee-Style Now!

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Yes, I know about Flemming`s awesome War on Easter. The problem is, I thought I was a conscientious objector. That's because I thought Easter has no more to do with Christianity than Christmas does. Come on, people, show me where in the word "easter" does it mention Jesus, or Christ, or Jehovah or Passover or any of that nonsense?

Of course it doesn't . Of course, "easter" refers to a spring goddess and her fertility familiar, the hare. Oskar Hase. Eostre.

Doesn't it?

But then something miraculous happened: I was on an archaeological dig in the ancient sands of the Middle East, when I came upon a mysterious tablet. Upon further inspection, I found that it was nothing less than an undiscovered new Gospel and Testament of Christ, proving that easter bunnies, eggs, and more symbols of Easter are as Christian as Santa Claus kneeling before the manger!

Now, of course, I'm an atheist. This is no more miraculous than the Gospel of Judas. It's just more religious dreck from a Gnostic sect. But it obviously has a lot of historical value. I'm hoping that such historical value goes beyond seven figures, so I can take my atheistic evangelism further than Brian Flemming could ever dream! But I am not selfish, friends. I want to share some of this gospel with you.

So, without further hesitation, I give you


More Liberal and Moderate Christians Rationalizing Away Abuse

J-Walk Blog passed along this news story about a piece of shit who used the bible to justify his abuse.

He struck his 12-year-old daughter with belts because she lied, because her homework was incomplete and because "it is stated in the Bible that it is OK to spank your children," the father told police.

The girl said she was beaten for not reading well enough, for using slang, and for "not accepting Jesus into her heart," police reported.

After the statements, police over the weekend arrested Michael C. Bilodeau, 48, of Coral Springs, on felony charges of aggravated child abuse and neglect of a child. He was released Sunday from the St. Lucie County jail on $10,000 bail. He declined to discuss the charges on Monday.

As always, the Christians in the Peanut Gallery come to the defense and deny the obvious.

Idiots like this should not be allowed to say they are Christian.

Let's say the Bible does permit spanking. Leaning your naked 12 year old daughter across a bed and whuppin' her with a belt is not "spanking".

Poor little girl. a mother who ignores and a father who beats. Horrible! i hope she can find someone who will give her love and show some faith in her. and this is christianity? more like sataniantity to me!

I'm sure I'll be gettin' it later after they read my post:
This is perfectly consistent with Christianity. Anyone who doesn't think so is just using wishful thinking. The only things the bible says about how to treat children are beating, stoning, eating, cutting in half, sacrificing and burning the remains, tearing apart by bears, and abandoning.

Don't be fooled into thinking that there's anything remotely positive to children in that book. What, do you think there's any kind of secular reason behind his abuse of his kid? He frigging said it out loud, for cripe's sakes. It's the coward's way out to just say "he wasn't a true christian (tm) like me. There. That takes care of that little problem."

But, after all. What's the harm in just letting people have their beliefs? If it comforts them, isn't that all that matters?

More on the Pianka Debacle

It looks like our good friend Pianka, the prof who was alleged by wacko creationists to call for the deliberate killing of billions of people by airborne viruses is probably just as wacko as Demski. The debate rages on at Hit and Run, the blog of Reason Magazine:

Check out, too, this interesting post in the Daily Kos comments thread from Neil Sinhababu, a UT graduate student in philosophy who closely knows people who work with Pianka:

I just asked them if this sounded like something Pianka would actually say. The grad student laughed and told me that Pianka is in fact crazy, and has repeatedly said in classes that it'd be good if devastating diseases would wipe out 90% of the human population. There were freakish references to "our friend, AIDS."

He has a history of other bizarre behavior too. The professor says that whenever new prospective faculty are brought into the biology department and meet Pianka, Pianka likes to puts his feet up on his desk and loudly say, "We're all fucked!" (This is apparently how the professor himself was greeted.) The biology department has started making sure that new hires meet the other ecologists before they meet Pianka, so as to make clear that not all Texas ecologists are insane.

Monday, April 10, 2006

When is a Foxhole Not a Foxhole?

Dear Internet Diary,

Right now, a lot of atheist groups like American Atheists are in a tizzy about Katie Couric's use of the phrase "there are no atheists in foxholes." While it sounded like Katie was using the phrase as a snappy opener for a news report on the role of faith in politics, or some such mind-numbingly boring pap you tend to get from news magazine shows, American Atheists is trotting out its pride in "our" soldiers and military atheists, and heroism, and patriotism, and fine young men and women and Tim McGraw bullshit.

They do it, because examining the lie behind the real meaning to that dumb statement isn't soundbyte-worthy or public relations-y enough. Portraying atheists saluting next to American flags with tears in their eyes makes us appeal more to the boomer voting block. They think we are some kind of pinko hippy New York intellectual academic satan-worshiping crowd, and it might be better to clean us up and stick us in uniforms. Although they should re-think giving us bayonnettes.

I suppose there's an essay here, but I'm more interested in the historical misinterpretation and misrepresentation of a common English language metaphor, because I'm Hellbound Alleee.

It's only natural that folks, being ordinary and therefore none too bright (or opportinustic with the fact that we are none too bright), we love to interpret metaphors literally. So when someone says "there are no atheists in foxholes," we look down into foxholes and go, "say, isn't that an atheist in there right now?"

Although I dare say foxholes went out with the kitbag, the doughboy, and those cursed Huns

"There are no atheists in foxholes" refers to the idea that anyone confronted with impending death is so reduced to his human nature, he will let go of his inner defenses and pride, and humble himself before God and his once-clean undershorts. Surely we all become equal in such a situation, right?


People of all kinds, soldiers, policemen, revolutionaries, construction workers, convenience store clerks, rap artists, sex industry workers, women who work late, and children face potentially fatal harm every day.. What the moment of truth shows is one's metal, one's training, one's mental preparedness for a situation, or for death. Some people haven't thought too much about death, and just aren't ready. Some have trained so well for such a moment that they can go into automatic training mode. Our instinct is just not necessarily to fall to our knees and cry out for God, because we're too busy with fight-or-flight. If we can do nothing but fall to our knees, there's usually other people in line before God to call to, like, well, Mommy. When I had my own foxhole moment, I did everything but pray--or even think--of God.

Which brings us to the deal-breaker; right down to the default definition of atheism. In a world full of war and disease, it's little children who are filling the foxholes. Little children who not only have never heard of any gods, they may not have heard of death. So, if you want to trot out the atheists in foxholes that appeal to the Patriotic American Grandparents, there are plenty of babies to show them. Children who don't need to be stripped down to their naked humanity, because they already are, and it's clear there's no loving God saving them.

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Creating a New Jesus

Dear Internet Diary,

Now that questioning the Gospels is mainstream and big business, atheism will naturally follow, won't it?

I'm not so sure.

There's been a lot about Jesus on tv lately, and it isn't the stuff I remember from Sunday school. There's the DaVinci Code, where the story goes that Jesus got with Mary Magdalene (it only took about 20 years to remember that part from the Scorcese film). There's the short-lived tv series "the Book of Daniel," where Jesus is a kind of little pocket pal. There's the A&E special, where we see what Jesus "really looked like," the Jesus Ice Walk, and the new Gospel of Judas that everyone's talking about, where Jesus asked Judas for his betrayal. It would seem that this kind of "getting creative with the gospels" would let people's minds be allowed to think in different ways than dogma would allow.

Unfortunately, there might be another effect. I think people, who, after all, don't read or think, will see it as science and history confirming the existence of Jesus, the moral teacher, who is just a little bit more like them. Take this angry letter from a young girl to Normal Bob Smith
by the way how you ever read the DAvinci code? there is proof that Jesus did exist, but had a life with Mary magdalene and bore a child

What proof do you, personally, have to show that my God is not real

The more folks "hear things" about historians and archaeologists asking questions, making clay heads of what Jesus really looked like, and plotting weather patterns in 30 CE, it means, to them, that science is proving Jesus. They don't know what the proof is, but as the young girl pointed out, "there is proof."

In all this confusion, will there ever be room for the mythicist position?

Last Friday night, I heard Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News literally lament about the news stories of the week of April 3-7. News stories like the prayer study, the Gospel of Judas, Tiktallik and the hypothesis that Jesus walked on ice, not water. He was genereous enough, thank goodness, to let America know that it was still ok to have faith. I sure hope America thanks Brian Williams for his generosity.

It's the ice story, absurd as it is, that should shake the faith of the "believe-everything-on-tv" crowd. If it were true, that Jesus walked on ice, it would make him an absolute fraud, or at the most, an entertainer. That would undermine Jesus' morality--the only part of him that matters, or is real --to a great number of moderate and liberal Christians. Yet the effect of this story, in my opinion, does not undermine Jesus at all. What it does, as with the other stories, is confirm Jesus' existence with science. The originator of the ice hypothesis was an oceanographer, which makes him a scientist. Therefore, to the believer,Science proves Jesus yet again.

For the optimist, I will allow that this may be part of an extremely long process of making God smaller. Maybe a smaller God is a less dangerous God. But don't hold your breath. As long as there's someone there to take responsibility for one's actions, it doesn't matter how small he is.

Thanks for listening.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Beyond Physical?

Dear Internet Diary,

jhuger pointed out to me, in a comment over in the post A Civil Discussion, that someone asserted he had "non-physical experiences" that led him to believe in the supernatural.

How do people experience things? By the senses. Taste, touch, see, smell, and hear. Ah, you say. But I feel love and hate inside of me. What kind of physical sense is that? I'd call that a physical response to chemical signals from the brain that memory triggers. You could say touch, I suppose. But there's nothing non-physical about emotion. And before you protest, there's nothing here that de-values love or anything else important. But it's not intangible. If it were, we wouldn't--get ready for it--feel love.

This is what it means to experience something. Take someone like the person who made the initial claim. What did he experience? Well, I don't know, because he didn't tell me. Why, I couldn't say. Believers claim transcendent experiences. As an ex-believer and human being, I have experienced very warm and intense feelings based on recognition of values. I have felt intense love and acceptance. I felt I had deep understanding of something I thought was extremely important. I have seen and heard things that were so beautiful, I recognized them as transcendent. To put it bluntly, I have felt the warm fuzzies.

What is the experience here? I felt love. I felt warm. I felt accepted. My brain sent signals to my pleasure center. I dare say I had activity in my temporal lobe: the place in my brain that triggers feelings of deep significance. Significance that comes from recognition--when new data finds recognition in retained data. The new data reinforces the old, and the old reinforces the new. This can be pretty exciting, and I have several aquaintances that experience this significance in college, where concepts sometimes become more deeply understood through unrelated subjects.

But nothing can boost recognition of values more than hormonal rushes. Everything's more intense with sex.

I used to think that deep emotion is belittled by this kind of reductionism. But no more. There's no shame in being a human being. There's no need to say that a spiritual experience is lessened when you know that it comes from you, and that wonderful brain of yours, your appreciation of beauty and learning, and your ability to love. Don't cheapen it with dimestore religious or pseudoscientific fantasy.

Oh--before I forget. How do you sense things that are beyond the senses? Just a thought.

One Word: Tiktaalik

Scientists have made one of the most important fossil finds in history: a missing link between fish and land animals, showing how creatures first walked out of the water and on to dry land more than 375m years ago.

Cyclops Kitty Symbol of Creationism?

A while back I suggested that Cy, the Cyclops Kitty, should become the new animal mascot for atheism. The former owner got a different idea:

Cy, short for Cyclops, a kitten born with only one eye and no nose, is shown in this photo provided by its owner in Redmond, Oregon, on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005. The kitten, a ragdoll breed, which died after living for one day, was one of two in the litter.  Its sibling was born normal and healthy. (AP Photo/Traci Allen)
Famous one-eyed kitten to go on display

GRANBY, N.Y. - The one-eyed, noseless kitten that inspired an international debate last year over whether it was a hoax is coming to a new museum of oddities in central New York. The museum founder, who believes in creationism, said the kitten is meant to launch another debate about how science and religion intersect.

The Oregon woman who owned the kitten said she turned down Ripley's Believe it or Not! and sold the remains to John Adolfi of Granby because she liked his religious reasons for wanting them.

"We didn't want Cy becoming a joke or part of a personal collection," Traci Allen said. "But John was so heartfelt, you could tell he was genuine and sincere."<

Adolfi would not say how much he paid for the kitten, named Cy, for Cyclops. He said he plans to have it embalmed Wednesday at a local funeral home.

The kitten died in December, a day after being born. Veterinarians in Oregon said it suffered from a rare disorder called holoprosencephaly. Cy will be displayed in a glass jar in the Lost World Museum, which Adolfi hopes to open in nearby Phoenix this fall.

Other exhibits will include giant plants and eggs, deformed animal remains and archaeological finds, Adolfi said.

Well, anything will prove that God is an giant asshole, this will. With his freak and oddity show, he'll be sure to set creationist research way, way ahead--into the early 1930's.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Dr Doom story a smear campaign?

I Love a Hysteria

If you've not been closely following the April Foolsworthy fiasco following Pianka's supposed crazy Hitlerlike support of genocide, then you should read this post on The Panda's Thumb. The story, heard on the Drudge Report, may have come from some kooky creationists. like Demski, who can be seen here frothing at the mouth.

Article on Panda's Thumb

To get the story straight, I personally think Pianka's a bit of a kook himself--one of those apocalyptic greenies we like to make fun of--just so you know.

My Answers to a poll on Outsider Music

I don't know if anyone's interested, but here are my thoughts on outsider music for a grad student in Helsinki.

I will try to answer your questions about outsider music:

Age: 39


"Outsider music" is independantly produced music by generally passionate individuals, who sometimes wish they were not outsider artists, and oftentimes have no idea they are considered outsider by others. The music is either distributed through friends or accident, or word-of-mouth, or thriftstore bins of homemade tapes, or ads in magazines.

b) "Why are some artists considered outsiders?" "What makes them outsiders?"
Their music is not considered widely listenable, or their message is outside of the norm. Sometimes their buzz is more about their own personal stories. Sometimes the performer is mentally ill.

d) "What do you think are the most important features of outsider
Passion, individiualism, kook-motifs, sincerity and/or naievete.

4. Most outsider musicians are informed completely by popular genres, either imitating them or rejecting them outright. But mostly they are similar only through the term "music," and sometimes that is debatable, too.

5. "What do you think is the relationship between outsider music and folk
music? How are they different/same?"
Traditionally, folk music was true DIY-do-it-yourself to please your family and friends music. One can see the similarities. However, a lot of folk music is driven totally by ethnic culture. Outsiders, if driven by anything, are driven by personal passion and/or dreams of popular stardom. The exception to this rule might be Louie Louie, star of the "El Touchie" dances. But again, this is latin popular music, not chicano folk music.

6. "Why do you listen to/like outsider music?"
I have always been moved by passion. I am a big fan of Crackpottery--that is, the individual with a "kook motif:" an idea he or she thinks is The answer to life, the universe, and everything. This is one of the aspects I look for in outsider music. I also love a good story. A song that raises my eyebrows and makes me think "what could have possibly motivated her to write a song like that?" What's more comic/tragic than a woman or a man who fancies himself/herself an opera diva, only to produce painful warbles? Yet, they manage to do it with such sincerity and passion towards the song, that it comes off utterly charming. Utterly human. It's rare to find that kind of humanity on the Top 40.

7. "Who is your favorite outsider musician/ band playing outsider music? Why him/her/them?"
Generally, I don't play favorites, as I am always on the lookout for more discoveries. That's even more enjoyable than listening. I have recently discovered Jandek, and am trying to listen to his music. I recently saw the movie about his mythology. As far as a personal favorite, I've wondered if I could include a song by John Carradine, from the movie "Red Zone Cuba." Carradine is a fine singer, however his charm is exceedingly outsider, as is the movie. I quite doubt that many outsider fans would agree with me that "Night Train to Mundo Fine" is a true outsider song.

8. "How did you became aware of outsider music?"
I stumbled across an episode of "Incorrect Music" on WFMU, hosted by Irwin Chusid, around the same time I found the American Song Poem Music Archives. It caused a flash of recognition, as I graduated from the Evergreen State College with a degree in music. TESC's music department has included such luminaries as John Cage and Laurie Anderson, and has promoted all sorts of different music for years. My own music composition prof had us taking trips to Boeing's surplus store to gather materials to build instruments. I've always been aware of music not of the norm, and having been raised a fundamentalist christian as a child, I was no stranger to impassioned nuts making strange music for non-musical reasons.

9. "Why do you think outsider music is considered “underground music”? Why can’t you hear/see it in the mainstream media?"
The top forty is interested in music that is catchy or promotes money-generating fads. The mainstream media wants songs that will appeal to the largest number of ears possible. They may occasionally sneak in some niche interests, but not as a rule. However, the internet has shown industry the power of such niche-marketing, and may incorporate more interesting sounds in the future. MTV and other companies have embraced DJ's, who tend to be incredibly knowledgeable about these sounds and artists, and sometimes incorporate them into their mixes. The more these mixes are played, the more the typical teenager will become used to it. Everything weird can become "normal" if we're acclimated to it. Just look at "The Rite of Spring" by Stravinsky. Of course, his musicians could play...

10. "If you’re familiar with outsider art/art brut, what do you think is,its relationship to outsider music?"
Art for Jesus. Some of those paintings and songs go hand-in-hand. When you add mental illness or deficiency to basic skills in painting or music that don't include formal training, you've got your similarities. As long as it's sincere.

Thanks, this was an enjoyable survey.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Pray Instead

Pope Urges Catholics to Pray More--via

Jaywalk Blog

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 30, 2006 ( Benedict XVI is appealing to all Catholics to intensify their prayer for vocations for a Church in need of more priests and consecrated persons.

"The priest's mission in the Church is irreplaceable," the Pope wrote in a message for the upcoming World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

"Therefore, despite the fact that in some regions there is a decrease of the clergy, the certainty must never be lost that Christ will continue to inspire men who, as the Apostles, putting all concerns aside, dedicate themselves totally to the celebration of the sacred mysteries, the preaching of the Gospel and pastoral ministry," the Holy Father wrote.

I agree that Catholics should pray more. All the time, in fact. Especially when they start getting that old craving to hold up sign with aborted foetuses--pray instead.

If you're a nun and feel like beating your student--pray instead.
If you're a catholic and feel like voting--pray instead.
If you see something that looks like Jesus on some food or an underpass and want to sell it on ebay or call the 6 o'cock news--pray instead.
If you want to deny the holocaust--pray instead.
If you feel like insisting that public schools be turned into rectories--pray instead.
If you think you can't stop yourself from getting that Jesus tatoo on your face--pray instead.
If you want to start a speed metal christian boyband--pray instead.
If you feel like making art of any kind praising your god--pray instead.
If someone suggests you might like to sell soap and breathspray with a multilevel marketing business--pray instead.
If you're a senior on a fixed income and a nice big-haired preacher on tv says if you send them money, you'll get a better mansion in heaven--pray instead.
If you get the urge to run for the schoolboard so you can get the schools to teach creationism--pray instead.
If you won some kind of trophy on a television award show and feel like thanking Jesus for kicking the other nominees' asses--pray instead.
If you feel like indoctrinating your children with sexual shame and loathing for their bodies--pray instead.
If you see a choir boy and you....pray instead.

See? I totally agree with the pope.

Bill Maher on Pseudo-Christians?

Dear Internet Diary,

I enjoyed very much this piece done by Bill Maher, via One Good Move:

Bill (Mr animal rights) had me until he sold out to Jesus. What did we just say on our show about Jesus' Morality last week? Bill says Jesus didn't have one good word to say about war or torture. Excpet that it was Jesus who made Hell and our impending torture in it central to his teachings. It's right in the fucking Sermon on the Mount! As far as war, I guess Bill's never heard about the Apocalypse.

(Before you write to me and say "that was all written by John the Elder and stuff," don't forget that we have nothing by anyone answering to the name Jesus Christ. It's all hearsay and made-up nonsense, but that's what people believe, and apparently that's what Bill Maher believes.)

So Bill takes the jerks' way out and says that these demagogues who cry "War on Christians" are not real christians. Like who? Him? No, those people in government, George W, Pat Robertson, Bill O'Reilley, all of them are 100% Jesus-fearing Christians. And nothing they say is inconsistent with scripture. It's the make-it-up-as-you-go-along liberal christians who have it wrong. If you don't agree, please show me this wonderful man called Jesus, this feminist, this peacenick, this environmentalist, this Vegetarian Communist who loved children. I have a bible, and I jsut ain't seeing it.

Thanks for listening.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Keep Away From Children

You've been there. Someone holds up their adorable, darling child and says, gently, "Here is a reason to believe in God."

I think I've seen the same argument with porno and beer.

Rather than being a moment where we all sit down and forget our differences, and bask in the glow of a soft and innocent, lovely child, I see it as more christian bullying. It's a challenge. Dare you make any disparaging comment, like "actually, that's a reason to believe in sex?" If you say anything other than "congratulations, what a cute baby," you're a bastard.

The Alleee way of dealing with this is to hold up a similar child, only one from Vietnam whose mother was exposed to Agent Orange. "Is this a reason to believe in God, too?"

But now that I think of it, it is a reason. God hates Babies. Despises them. Is there even one baby besides the Christ Child that isn't killed or threatened or eaten? Seriously, someone find me one. The god of the bible simply has a taste for them. I woyuld have to say to the proud father: "Don't hold that up! You'll give Him ideas!" Seriously. Don't overfeed the tyke. Just look at the bible! Cutting babies in half. Slaughtering firstborns is evil for the king, yes. But when God does it, it's ok. Parents are forced to eat their own children for thought crimes, but when kids do wrong, they either get eaten by various animals, or killed by their parents. Why can't the kids eat their pets, at least? Parents are always making bad deals with god, and as a result, the children are killed. If you're looking at the bible for childraising hints--and I know you crazy monkeys are--you'll find that if you manage to carry a pregnancy without having a righteous Israelite sword rip through your belly, the only advice for Johnny is beat him, preferably with a rod, but mostly pelt him with stones.

I would have to advise that proud father to take out a restraining order on Jehovah, to keep him away from his Reason-To-Believe. Because, Jesus loves the little children--roasted, with a nice mustard sauce.

Thanks for listening.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Look behind you!

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April Fool's!
Poisson D'Avril!

Now go listen to my station for awhile.