Naked Naughty “Nuns” get sued

This is the kind of headline that grabs one’s attention:

Catholic group to sue naked feminist protesters

I saw that Neil Gaimon had tweeted it from Joe. My. God. and had to check it out. So, what’s going on here?

Catholic group Civitas is suing the group Femen for “sexual exhibitionism” in front of children, as well as protesting illegally and insulting a religious group by mocking their appearance.

So what is this “sexual exhibitionism” that so scarred these poor children?  Well, the protesting women’s boobs were, like, visible and stuff. (Image NSFW) They weren’t even properly naked, just topless. I generally demand more from my sexual exhibitionism. They could at least have made out or something. Maybe a little fisting. Just a little.

This is in France, by the way. This Catholic group is suing for showing boobage in France. Seriously, who doesn’t show their boobs in France? I’ve seen a French film or two. I seriously thought boobs were so common in France that people barely noticed them. “Hey, Jacques. You ever notice how hard it is to see the futbol game with all these boobs in the way?” “What boobs?”

And “insulting a religious group by mocking their appearance”? Is that really illegal in France? Insulting people should never be illegal. Religious people need to learn that the law is not your bah-bah that you can suck on whenever you get your feelings hurt and feel all poopy inside. And let’s keep in mind–these naked feminist nuns were counter-protesting a Catholic run anti-gay march. So it’s okay for the Catholics to march to deny gays equal rights, but it’s not okay to make fun of the Catholics’ silly costumes. Christian privilege, much? Oh, and fuck boobies. Children might see them. And we all know how scarring that would be if a boob were visible and a child saw it. It might do horrible things to him, like make him giggle for a few seconds. Oh, the humanity.

So who is this lesbian feminist group? From what I can gather at Le Monde (my French is rusty), they’re a rather outlandish women’s rights group that has drawn quite a bit of controversy for their over the top protests which they always do topless. This has led to the legitimate question of whether they are actually conveying a message or if people just see the breasts and forget everything else. European feminists worry that if Femen becomes the face (or chest) of feminism it could distract people from the message, and maybe that’s true. Honestly, in my opinion, while I’m all for feminism and gay rights and lots of other left wing issues, I’ve never participated in a protest of any kind and probably never will. It’s just too herd-mentality for me. But I support other people’s right to do it, even in the nude. So long as they don’t get violent…but we’ll get to that in a moment.

The feminist protesters turned up to the march against the proposed marriage for all law wearing only knickers and stockings, and with graffiti criticising the march written on their bodies.

I’m not sure if I’m comfortable calling gay marriage “marriage for all”. That seems to play right into the dumb ass slippery slope arguments that the right loves to use, where gay marriage will lead to people marrying box turtles and lawn sprinklers. Although maybe this is a translation problem.

Well, anyways, they’re criticizing an anti-gay march. Good for them!

They also fired canisters of tear gas at the marchers.

NOT good for them.  What the hell, girls? Spraying tear gas? That is way out of line.

That is, it’s way out of line if it’s true. I see some reason for doubt. Here’s a YouTube video of the event (NSFW, obviously, because of boobs. People, for some odd reason that I’ll never understand, hate seeing boobs.)

You can definitely see them spraying….something. But is it tear gas, or any kind of dangerous gas? Everyone exposed to it seems to be fine. I don’t see anyone rubbing their eyes or reacting to it in any way. I was at a hockey game a while back when a drunk guy six or seven rows back from me got maced by security. Even though I was several yards away, it irritated my eyes quite a bit. And that was just one guy getting sprayed with a small amount of mace.  In the video, the…whatever it is they spray seems to go everywhere, but people seem to be doing just fine.

One thing that is clear from the video is that they are attacked by the anti-gay protestors.

Some members of the feminist group were attacked and injured by the marchers.

Yeah, I just said that. Try to keep up, article I’m commenting on!

Five people have since been arrested in connection to the violence.

Who were these five people? Were they from Femen or Civitas? What did the police have to say about the allegations of tear gas or that the anti-gay protestors attacked the feminists?

Jesus titty balls, the French media is even worse than American media when it comes to leaving out relevant information. It’s hard to form a well-reasoned opinion on this with such sparse reporting. Who attacked whom first? That’s really important info.

Alain Escada, the president of Civitas, said the catholic group would also be suing Femen for spreading a message in a violent manner, organised violence with arms and threatening the freedom to protest of others.

If they actually did any of those things, you should sue. Why was this story all about the suing for boobs and dressing up in “insulting” costumes if there was the possibility of violence in this protest? Why did this shit come up at the end of the article? It’s definitely the more important stuff. But it’s also the stuff where the information becomes so sparse that the article is mostly useless. Also, I can’t help but notice that the journalist who authored this article has apparently spoken only to members of Civitas, but not Femen. Why weren’t the women asked for a statement on this? Are we following some arcane Catholic rule that only lets the men speak? What the hell?

Of course, I tend towards the naked feminist nuns’ side, since 1.) I agree with gay rights and feminism and 2.) I like boobs. However, if they did really spray tear gas into a crowd, then that’s simply inexcusable behavior and they should be in jail. On the other hand, maybe that was just some kind of harmless smoke bomb they set off, and the Civitas bigots attacked them unprovoked, in which case it’s the bigots who should be in jail. Or maybe it really was tear gas or mace, but they only sprayed it in self defense after someone attacked them. It would be nice if the article provided enough information to resolve this issue, but the stuff I quoted is all we get.

It would also be nice if the article focused on the violence rather than the boobs. As I said, I like me some boobs, but anti-free-speech violence is a much more pressing issue. (I also like pressing boobs.) It makes me think that perhaps the critics of Femen’s method might have a point. Except for the fact that if this story hadn’t involved boobs, the odiousness of Civitas’ protest against gay marriage would not have spread across the world. It’s doubtful that this story would have gotten any attention outside of France if not for the boob angle. So, yay for boobs! I guess.

Republicans Need Morons

Let’s say you have a major political party in a large, prosperous country. And let’s say that this party rode to power on a wave of populist pandering to people who are, to put it nicely, stupid bigots. And let’s say that this party is starting to realize what a mistake this was (but only after seeing how changing demographics deprived this party of its actual goal, which is making rich people richer). So some people in this party have started openly discussing the obvious fact that pandering to stupid bigots is starting to cost them elections as minority and women voters gain more traction. How do you expect the stupid bigots to respond?

By insisting it’s all about themselves, of course! Stupid bigots aren’t really capable of thinking about anything but themselves (that’s why they’re stupid bigots), so it should come as no surprise that they think the Republican Party owes everything to them and the fact that the world isn’t falling in line with their beliefs is proof that they’re being persecuted. Case in Point: David Limbaugh, brother of the odious Rush Limbaugh, proclaiming in the WingNutDaily that The Republican Party needs stupid bigots.

One of the largest elephants in the GOP’s post-election room is the fate of Christian and other social conservatives. Party honchos can’t just wish this problem away – or, maybe they can.

Make up your mind, asshole. Can they or can’t they?

And I was pretty sure that the largest elephant in any GOP room was your brother.

There has been increasing hostility toward Christian involvement in politics, and the animus hasn’t been solely from the left.

Boo hoo hoo! They’re not letting Christians get involved in politics! We’re being persecuted!

Except for the fact that pretty much every politician in America is Christian. And has been for quite some time. And the Christian religion gets injected into pretty much every fucking debate this country has on any issue. It seems like this country can’t decide whether or not to fix a pothole without first asking what Jesus wants (and then learning that Jesus apparently speaks through crazy dumb people).

To be sure, Democrats have taken the lead, demonizing conservative Christians as science-challenged scolds who don’t care about women’s “reproductive rights,”

I put “reproductive rights” in scare quotes because I don’t believe such a thing even exists. How dare the left demonize me by saying I don’t care about them!

No, David. We’re not demonizing you by calling you exactly what you are. You know dick about science, you moralize to everyone, and you’re misogynistic pricks who want to interfere with what a woman does with her own body. That’s not demonizing. That’s just stating the facts. “Science-challenged scolds who don’t care about women’s reproductive rights” is an apt description of the typical religious right wing nut.

but there is plenty of antipathy from certain elements within the Republican Party, as well.

Many establishment and some libertarian Republicans have long looked upon Christian conservatives with mild, condescending contempt. Party leaders from Barry Goldwater to Alan Simpson have openly derided Christians and lamented their negative influence on the party and on the overall political climate.

They derided Christians? I doubt that. More likely, they derided the people who think “Christian” means making every election about what people do with their genitals. Did it ever occur to you that many of these people are Christian themselves, and maybe they don’t take too kindly to you reserving the term solely to people who think cares more about buttsex than poverty? No, of course not. That would require actually considering someone else’s point of view.

Even Ronald Reagan’s warm embrace of faith-based conservatives didn’t diminish the establishment’s disdain for them, which forcibly reared its head over the Todd Akin and Rick Mourdock kerfuffles. So swift and dramatic was their descent on Akin following his “forcible rape” embarrassment that one could almost infer they were lying in wait for just such an excuse to marginalize outspoken Christian conservatives.

The term Akin used was “legitimate rape”. But it’s telling that you see such a comment as a sign that someone is a “Christian”. Am I to understand that the point of your op-ed is to convince me that marginalizing social conservatives is a bad thing? ‘Cause that’s not at all what I’m getting from this.

Don’t get me wrong; I had serious doubts about Akin’s electability after the comments, too, but the establishment’s outrage wasn’t limited to Akin (or Mourdock) or even to his rape comment. There was palpable disgust from certain quarters on the right over what they perceived as the lunacy of making social issues a part of the equation at all.

This is what I love about David Limbaugh. He seems to know exactly why people view the religious right as a bunch of babbling, underpants-on-head numbskulls. They’re science-challenged scolds who hate women and spout a bunch of lunacy. And Limbaugh’s response is, “Why is that so bad?” Love it.

If my analysis is incorrect, then why do we hear so much conflation of the Akin and Mourdock incidents with the question of the viability of social conservatism in general? If the outrage over these two was simply limited to their comments, then why are they increasingly cited as Exhibits A and B in the case for purging social conservatism from the Republican Party?

Your analysis isn’t incorrect. You’re totally right that many Republicans are getting sick of the religious right’s schtick. What I find so amusing is your inability to grasp why that might be. Wouldn’t it be, if not refreshing, at least entertaining if more people were like this? I’d love to see an interview with the members of Nickleback where they said, “For some reason, the fact that our music consists of painfully generic, derivative rock melodies combined with shallow, mind-numbingly stupid lyrics sung in the most insincerely maudlin voice any human can muster is causing people to say we suck. I just don’t get it!”

Imagine if terrorists responded to public outcry with something like, “I just don’t get why people hate being mauled by pipe bombs so much.” Or if con artists started saying, “I’m starting to get the feeling that people don’t like it when I steal their money. Am I wrong?” Yes, the world would still be full of assholes and morons in such a case. But at least the assholes would realize why they’re asshole, though still be utterly stupefied by the fact that this makes people think they’re assholes.

The GOP’s distaste for social conservatives this election cycle wasn’t confined to the Akin affair. If you’ll recall, Rick Santorum was the object of much scorn for his insistence on placing social issues front and center in his campaign. Some of the criticism was based on Santorum’s perceived demeanor and sanctimony, but no small amount of it would have occurred even if Santorum had been cheerfully optimistic in his approach to these issues.

What exactly is the “cheerfully optimistic” way to tell a woman she has to keep a pregnancy that resulted from rape? Wouldn’t that be Mourdock’s “God loves rape” approach? ‘Cause that doesn’t seem to work very well. Is there a “cheerfully optimistic” way to tell a gay man he can’t visit his dying partner in the hospital because the government won’t let them get married?

In fairness, we are in extraordinary times, and it’s understandable that even some Reagan conservatives (those who subscribe to his three-legged stool of economic, foreign policy and social conservatism)

Let me go on record as saying that I am totally on board with calling the current conservative platform “stool”.

became impatient with attempts to place social issues at the forefront. They were convinced that President Obama’s fiscal and economic nightmares alone would ensure a Republican victory and that there was no need to make controversial social issues a drag on the ticket.

What nightmares? Yeah, Obama’s far from perfect, but he still hasn’t managed to tank the economy the way the last couple Republicans have.

But that excuse will not mollify many social conservatives, who believe not only that social issues are the most important matters facing the nation today, but that at the root of our economic problems is an underlying disintegration of the nation’s moral fabric.

There is nothing, and I mean nothing, that could mollify social conservatives. They practically breathe and eat outrage. If they weren’t offended by something, they wouldn’t know what to do. Their minds are constantly in Gibbering Rage Mode, which is why thoughts like “Fags cause recessions” pass through their minds without triggering a That’s Really Stupid alarm.

My purpose here, though, is not to debate the merits of the competing positions, but to point out that this growing intolerance for social issues by some in the GOP could result in a major schism, even a splintering of the party.

People keep saying this, and yet it never happens. It’s almost as if the base that social conservatism appeals to is comprised largely of a bunch of ignorant sheep with short memories.

I am receiving emails and reading articles from Christian conservatives advocating a doubling down on social issues, some even suggesting that Christians redirect their focus away from politics and toward evangelism.

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: Please, right wing nuts, shift your focus away from politics. That’s totally the best way for you to counteract left wing heathens like me. It’ll totally work. Do it, do it, do it, do it!

Social issues are like blood in the water to Democrats and their liberal media accomplices, witnessed by their effort to ensnare GOP rising star Marco Rubio in a scandal over the age of the Earth. Even Rubio’s tempered response was uniformly maligned as evidence of his science-illiteracy and superstition. The right’s failure to come to his defense guarantees further and stronger attacks.

Okay, a few things here.

  1. The age of the Earth is not a social issue.
  2. Anyone who thinks it is is a dumbfuck.
  3. Rubio clearly thinks it is.
  4. He’s a dumbfuck.
  5. That’s why few Republicans came to his defense.

Perhaps one of the most insidious notions that circulates on the far right is this idea that facts about nature are matters of “personal belief”. It doesn’t take too much reflection to see why this would be a problem (but it’s still more reflection than David Limbaugh could ever muster). The fact that Rubio felt the need to give a “tempered” response (“tempered” here means “non-committal enough that the rubes won’t get upset”) just shows how bad this problem has gotten for the Republicans. The portion of their base who thinks they get to invent their own scientific facts is so large that their leading politicians are afraid to acknowledge that facts exist at all, and rather just offer some mushy nonsense about “mysteries” in answer to a question about a topic that is by no means mysterious.

The Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old. This has been established by numerous independent dating methods that all converge on the same answer. There is no other scientifically literate answer to such a question. If you don’t think the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, you don’t know shit about science. It’s that simple. But it’s even worse than that. In addition to being ignorant, you are also rejecting the expertise of people who, you know, actually do all the hard work that makes science happen. As much as Republicans love extolling the virtues of hard work and enterprise, they seem to forget those principles whenever someone applies those virtues and reaches a conclusion they don’t like.

It is no small irony that those urging a remake of the GOP to bring it in line with changing demographics could unwittingly alienate Hispanics and other minority recruits who might be receptive to social conservatism.

I’m sure Hispanics will fall right in line with all those social conservatives who want to make English the official language, ban Hispanic Studies classes, demand immigrants show their papers to any cop who asks for them, and claim that Mexican immigrants are stealing all our jobs. Social conservatives, you sure got a lot to offer those Hispanics! Keep fuckin’ that chicken, y’all!

It is also ironic and a testament to the wholesale ineffectiveness of the Republican Party that it is cowering from potentially winnable social issues: abortion, same-sex marriage, Obama’s assault on religious liberty and his phony war on women.

Well, those issues are “potentially winnable” in the same sense that Karl Rove thought Ohio was potentially winnable. But let’s go through them one by one.

Abortion. The public has spoken. Most Americans think it should be legal. But that’s not the end of the story. Our Founders spoke of the “tyranny of the majority” in the Federalist Papers. This is the fear that as long as something is popular, it will become law no matter how repressive or unjust it is. The solution to this problem is the courts, which have the power to overturn unjust laws no matter how many people support them. This is exactly what happened with Roe v. Wade. So even if abortion didn’t have majority support, it is still not a winnable issue.

Gay Marriage. This is an example of the right wing being once again on the wrong end of history. It happened previously with women’s liberation and black civil rights, and the gay marriage issue appears to be following a similar trajectory. Unfair social norms hold back some portion of the population based on something that does no harm to anyone and is not their fault. People complain, and the norms start changing. Bigots whine and cry and insist that changing these norms will destroy the Universe. Norms change. Universe still exists. Bigots 50 years down the road pretend that no one on the right ever opposed giving equal rights to that portion of the population. Wash, rinse, repeat. The tide is slowly but surely shifting on gay rights. It won’t be long before bigots are pretending they were never bigoted against gays, just like they are now pretending that conservatives never supported discrimination against blacks.

Obama’s assault on religious liberty. There’s simply no such thing. If anything, by expanding Bush’s bogus “Faith Based Initiatives,” Obama has assaulted secularism by getting the government even more entangled with religion. Pretty much every example people can come up with of Obama’s “assault” on religious “liberty” involves preventing someone from interfering with somebody else’s liberty. Obama wants insurance companies to cover contraceptives! He’s assaulting my liberty! Obama acknowledged the existence of atheists and Muslims in this country! He’s assaulting my liberty! Obama says I can’t prevent gay people from marrying! He’s assaulting my liberty! This is all bullshit. “Liberty” does not mean “power over others”. In fact, it means precisely the opposite.

[Obama’s] phony war on women. Need I remind you that you were just earlier wondering why no one defended the guy who said that women can’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape”? I hate the American tendency to call anything people argue over a “war”, but, call it what you want, the right wing has definitely attacked women on more than one occasion recently. The abortion thing is constant. But then there’s the numerous Republican candidates who made incredibly ignorant and insensitive comments about rape. And your brother calling a woman a “slut” just for testifying to Congress about the health benefits of the birth control pill. And let’s not forget that a sizable portion of the “social conservatives” you’re praising still believe in the Biblical notion that a wife is a servant of her husband and women can’t be priests/pastors and have authority over men. I don’t like calling it “war”, but there’s nothing phony about claiming that social conservatives are anti-woman.

Is there no issue on which the establishment will not cave in the end?

I mean, god damn! We already done gave rights to Negroes and Injuns! Where’s it gonna end?

The Republican Party can choose to ostracize social conservatives and their issues, or try to purge them altogether from the party and its platform. But they better be careful what they wish for, because if they do, it will be the end of the party as we know it.

It’s so cute how you keep saying good things like they’re bad things.

More Lies for Kids from AIG

Answers in Genesis just loves lying to children.  Here’s a fascinating article that purports to answer, for children, the question “What is science?” As someone who’s spent the last 12 years or so studying the history and philosophy of science, I can tell you this is no simple question.  In answer to a child’s query, I wouldn’t give them some complicated history of logical positivism or the demarcation problem or the difference between the syntactic and semantic accounts of scientific theories. But I would at least try to give them a description that accurately represents the current views of philosophers and historians and scientists, and that reflects both the potential and the limits of science while stressing the complexity of the overall process and the dangers of judging scientific findings one doesn’t understand.  Can I expect anything like that from AIG? No, of course not. Instead, we get this:

The kind of science that we normally think of as science (called “operational science”) is a wonderful tool that helps researchers discover new vaccines, find new kinds of fish in previously-uncharted waters, build more fuel-efficient cars, chart a course to other planets, and devise new treatments for old diseases.

Science makes you nifty toys and cures you when you have poopy-butt! That’s what the collected knowledge of hundreds of years of human endeavor to understand nature has earned us. New cars and space ships and diarrhea medicine.

“Operational science” is not a term in philosophy of science that I’m familiar with. The invention of new cars and medicines is what’s usually called “applied science” in philosophy of science. But it is sad but true that the shallow “gives us new technology to buy at the mall” view of science is all too common. People see the applications of science without any understanding of the theoretical principles that make that application possible.

With this kind of science, people can uncover fossils or study the composition of rocks.

Science finds things and tells you what they’re made of! Because that’s interesting and shit! But saying anything more than a shallow, simplistic “Here’s that fossil” or “Here’s that rock” is verboten blasphemy, because…

However, operational science has limitations. It can’t, for example, tell us where fish came from, when the rock formed in the first place, or how the bones of the creature came to be fossilized.

So it’s basically useless. A science that just points out the existence of things or describes what they are made of is just glorified stamp collecting. And, by the way, you can’t do important medical sciences like epidemiology without talking about how things (in this case, diseases) originate. So your definition of “operational science” is internally inconsistent. You can’t do medical science with this childish “point at rock and break it open” approach to science.

Operational science deals with the world of today. It involves testing and repeating experiments.

Are these two sentences both supposed to be about the same topic? They’re presented as if they are, and yet they clearly are not. If I had a hypothesis that King Tut had some particular genetic abnormality, and obtained some of his tissues and sequenced his genome, that would certainly be testing, and the experiment would be repeatable. But it’s not about today; it’s about thousands of years ago. And if I were a meteorologist who predicted something about the particular weather patterns happening right now, that would certainly be about today, but it would not be repeatable, since no future day is going to be exactly like today. And if I were an astronomer, I could make a prediction that such-and-such planet will appear in the sky today, but it wouldn’t be an experiment, since I have no way of manipulating or controlling any planet’s path. In fact, there’s quite a bit of legitimate science that doesn’t fit this definition of “operational science”.

“Operational science” doesn’t sound like science at all. Rather, it sounds like a way to enjoy the fruits of science while disparaging the ones who produce them. Kinda like how wealthy Republicans treat the workforce.

Origins science deals with the past.

Again, “origins science” is not a common term in history and philosophy of science. Care to elaborate?

Origins or historical science is used to reconstruct events that have happened in the past, using principles such as causality (for every effect, there must be a cause) and analogy (if this is the way it happens today, then perhaps it happened like this in the past).

Well, “historical science” is a real term, but you defined it poorly. “Causality” is part of all science. Seriously, what aspect of any human endeavor anywhere doesn’t involve causality? ‘What causes what’ is basic to almost any intellectual pursuit. And, again, analogy can play a role in any form of science. If causes and metaphors are all it takes to be origins science, then pretty much everything is origins science, and the term is meaningless.

The important factors in historical science are principles such as vera causae (causes for which you have independent evidence to know that they exist) and consilience of inductions (when multiple independent lines of evidence lead to the same conclusion). The important word in each is “independent”. Scientific facts aren’t discovered in a vacuum. They must be evaluated in terms of what you already know (and don’t know), and that’s crucial for understanding historical sciences like forensic science, geology, archeology, and, yes, evolutionary biology.

But I’m sitting here giving a philosophical evaluation of a dichotomy created solely to keep the god-humpers from having to acknowledge that human knowledge has advanced beyond their silly little book of fairy tales. Observe:

Of course, the best method of reconstruction is to rely on the account of an accurate eyewitness.

Really? So a few thousand years ago, Europe and the middle east were crawling with Centaurs, Minotaurs, Griffins, Satyrs, Trolls, Genies, Frost Giants, Leprechauns, Hydras, Sirens, Nymphs, Faeries, and about seventy bajillion gods and goddesses? Because that’s what the eye witnesses of the time tell us.

Naturalists have no such eyewitness to rely on.

“Naturalists” here means “people who rely on rationale, evidence based explanations”.

However, the Bible provides a written record of an eyewitness to (who was also intimately involved in) history—the Creator God.

So you don’t have any such witness either. And that’s not how parenthetical statements work, by the way.

This eyewitness cannot lie, so His account is completely trustworthy.

The fuck he can’t lie. If he’s even real, then basically his entire creation is one big fat lie. He puts the most distant galaxies 13.7 billion light years away, meaning the universe must be at least 13.7 billion years old or else we couldn’t see them, but then tells us it’s only 6,000 years old? Either the Bible is lying or the universe is lying. But since Jeebus is apparently the perpetrator of both, it’s his fault either way.

We can use this written record as our foundation for understanding the world around us.

We could do the same with the Gilgamesh or the Koran. And it wouldn’t be any more or less stupid.

This will help us to understand why the world is the way it is today and to make sense of where we came from and why we’re here.

There’s some fundamentalist logic for you. Specifically preventing people from pursuing questions like “How did the world get the way it is” is the path to finding the answer.

As you go through the museum, be sure to look for statements which fall under operational science—e.g., “this fossil was found in Montana”—and statements which fall under origins science—e.g., “this fossil is 65 million years old.”

Translation: Focus on easy, childish shit and reject things that require more effort, thought and training.

The philosophy of science that creationists peddle to children is reflective of the kinds of attitudes we see in adults who gullibly buy into this shit. Science, for them, is just a way to point at something, take it apart, and find a way to market it. Any broader understanding of reality is spoon fed to you by someone who claims to have absolute truth that can’t be questioned. And yet, so few people actually bother to notice the obvious fact that science couldn’t possibly have accomplished all it has over the last 400 years if finding things and taking them apart were all it could do. Pretty much all of modern technology relies on theoretical findings about atoms, electricity, germs, genes and physical interactions that can’t be directly observed but still succumb to the scientific method when understood properly. There is no eye witness account of the curvature of space-time, and yet our GPS satellites which rely explicitly on this theory work quite well. There have been tons of murders which nobody witnessed, but the killer was caught anyways due to the power of forensic science.

The creationist numbskulls are asserting two rather contradictory theses: 1.) What isn’t obviously right in front of your face can’t be real truth (thus evolution isn’t true because no one saw all 4 billions years of it), and 2.) You have to take on faith that the ruler of the entire universe inspired this particular book and any science that contradicts it must be wrong. The obvious problem here is that none of us saw God witnessing any of these events. We have to rely on non-witness humans to tell us God saw these events. The importance of eye-witnesses shoots them in the foot–we don’t have eye witness accounts in the Bible. Rather, we have people claiming someone else (god) told them he was an eye witness. And these people don’t provide any evidence whatsoever that they actually communicated with this so-called “god” fellow.

So we have to choose between humans who meticulously gathered gobs and gobs of evidence of evolution, and humans who say a magical being told them the truth. The latter’s argument only sounds convincing when you leave out the part where it’s humans saying that God said such-and-such, without bothering to provide any proof that any actual god said any such thing.  Leave that part in, and obviously the mounds of fossils and DNA and biogeography and comparative morphology and embryology and geology and astrophysics and cladistics and vestigial organs and plate tectonics sounds a lot more convincing than “I’m a human, and I say god wrote this book. So believe it, damn it!”

Kids need some good old fashioned lies

Answers in Genesis, the reprehensible creationist outfit that created the Creation Museum in Kentucky, has a section of their website dedicated to spreading creationist idiocy to America’s children. One way you can tell just how badly AIG warps the minds of its followers is by the type of questions its own readers write in:

My son brought a book home from school today about whales. It states that whales are mammals like us and that “a mammal is an animal that has lungs and breathes air,” etc… My son asked, “So we’re mammals too?” I wasn’t sure how to answer this because the definition in the book started by saying mammals are classified as an animal that… I tried to help him understand that we are not animals but wasn’t sure how to answer whether or not we are mammals. Could you help me know how to answer this? Are humans mammals?

– B.F., Wisconsin

“I tried to help him understand that we are not animals but wasn’t sure how to answer whether or not we are mammals.”

Let that quote sink in for a bit. It’s like saying, “I assure you we don’t live in New York, but I’m not sure about whether or not we live in Brooklyn.” This is the position that AIG puts creationist parents in, where they’re telling their children that they aren’t in the bigger circle on the Venn diagram, but are utterly confused about whether they fall in the smaller circle that is entirely contained within the big circle.

Any sensible person would answer, “‘Mammal’ is a subset of ‘Animal’. Having body hair, lactation, inner ear bones etc. makes us mammals. Also, genetics shows that ‘mammals’ form a monophyletic group. A fortiori, we are animals.” The sensible person might also point out that having lungs and breathing air is not an exclusive characteristic of mammals–birds and lizards and even some fish have lungs, but they are not mammals. The distinction between mammal and non-mammal (at the phenotype level) has more to do with the structure of the jaw bone(s) than it does with the lungs. This could be a learning moment for the child in question, if the parent were getting his/her information from anything even vaguely representing a reputable source. But they’re getting their info from AIG, so they get this:

Thanks for sending in this question. It’s great to see that you and your son are carefully examining the book about whales together.

The son asked a sensible question. The parent got confused because the dogma he/she wished the feed them was clearly self-contradicting. That’s not “carefully examining” by any rational standard whatsoever.

The word mammal is man-made

All words are man-made.  We’re the only species on this planet that talks. And, no, you don’t get to point to god or angels or demons as other beings that talk. FIRST, you have to prove that they exist at all. Then you get to say that they talk.

meaning that it is a method of classification defined by people.

Again, all methods of classification are defined by people. For instance, “Christian” and “Muslim” are classifications of people, and these classifications were created by people. Until we meet another species that can talk, this remains true for every single classification we ever discuss.

Generally speaking, mammals are defined as animals that are warm-blooded, usually having hair or fur, and giving birth to live young, which they nurse by producing milk. According to this definition, people and whales are both classified in the category of mammals.

Live birth is not a very good criterion, as monotremes (definitely mammals) lay eggs, whereas many different species of fish and snakes (definitely not mammals) give live birth. The best way to draw the line is to use comparative morphology and genetics, but then that leads you right to a nasty little thing called evolution. And of course you can’t mention those jaw bones, because there’s actually a quite compelling fossil record showing them transitioning from multiple bones in the jaw to one jaw bone and multiple inner ear bones. Oops!

God has a different way of viewing people and animals.

No. Humans say that god has a different view. God himself hasn’t said shit. It’s always a human (usually white and male) who does the talking.

First of all, God created men and women in His image.

Have you thought through what this implies about your precious “Marriage = One man + One woman” slogan?

This makes people unique and special.

Actually, it makes us a carbon copy of something else.

God did not create any of the animals in His image.

So long as we ignore the fact that humans fit the definition of animal exactly, and only humans claim to have any messages from God.

You can also see from these verses that God gave people authority over all animals, including whales.

Fuck you, whales! I’m in charge, bitches!

Another difference between people and animals is that God gave the gift of salvation to people.

Hear that, kids? That adorable porpoise you saw at Sea World? Going straight to hell.

Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden and marred the special relationship they had with God. As a result, all people have a problem with sin and a broken relationship with God.

God is a douchebag. That’s really the only explanation there is for this crap. Remember, God is omnipotent. This relationship could have gone any way at all, and he CHOSE the broken path of his own free will, even though he didn’t have to. And, as a result, trillions and trillions of human beings will be tortured and burned forever. And he blames us for this. Asshole.

Jesus’ death on the Cross provides the only way for this relationship to be repaired.

And Jesus’ followers expect us to take this contrived situation seriously. It’s like watching a Twilight movie. I just have to laugh.

Jesus, who is God, came to earth as a human, lived a sinless life, died on the Cross to pay the penalty for our sins, and rose again.

That clarifies nothing. If anything, it only raises more questions. But given how poorly you handled “Are Humans Mammals?”, I don’t foresee anything like a reasonable answer to those questions coming any time soon.

And speaking of which, how the fuck did we start with the question “Are Humans Mammals?”, and end with “The omnipotent ruler of the entire universe created you exactly as you are, and due to the flaws he created you with condemns you to hell, so the only way you can avoid eternal torture is to believe that said omnipotent ruler of universe turned into a person and got killed but came back”? Christian logic is weird.

God Loves You… I Think… – A Riffing Religion Rifflet

What is it with Christians and creepy puppets? Maybe they like them so much because, in a way, they ARE creepy puppets of Christ.

Tragedy in White Suburbia

Am I reveling too much in the continued right wing meltdown following Obama’s win? Probably, but I’m gonna keep doing it anyways. Up next, the good ol’ American Thinker. Remember them? The ones repeatedly publishing op-eds predicting a Romney landslide win? Yeah, well, you can imagine they took the shattering of their illusions pretty hard.
And, oh, how they did. 🙂 Mary Durbin provides a particularly amusing reaction:

I am not ashamed to admit it: I cried the night of the election.

It’s probably time for you to start reevaluating what you are and are not ashamed of.

I cried even before the election was called, because I knew in my heart that it was over.

Well, your heart needs to have a conversation with your colleague William Gensert’s gut, which was telling him over and over that Romney was gonna win in a landslide. (Curiously, Gensert hasn’t posted a single op-ed after Nov 6.)

I cried for my country, I cried for my faith, and I cried for the loss of what I imagined would be a life free from constant worry over what the government was going to do next to reduce liberty and freedom.

1.) Your country will be fine.

2.) Your faith sucks.

3.) Really? So when a Republican is in office, you are free from constant worry about loss of liberty? Well, that explains how Bush was able to get away with so much bullshit.

This election cycle, I saw far fewer Obama bumper stickers, so during my morning-after commute it was not easy to spot the perpetrators of my despair.

But it’s pretty damn easy to spot the perpetrators of stilted language and maudlin self-pity.

I cried at work, telling coworkers it was my allergies.  This is something that is very believable in Florida.

Other things that are very believable in Florida:

  • The State Legislature collectively forgot to wear pants for two weeks before anyone noticed.
  • Jeb Bush was hospitalized after accepting a challenge that he couldn’t eat 5 gallons of expired mayonnaise.
  • A local Tea Party elected an alligator with a cross glued to it to the school board.
  • Said alligator prevented Advanced Creationism from being a required course in Florida public schools by eating the other school board members.
  • Said alligator was then shot. Not because he ate the school board, but because the shooter thought that having scales and walking on all fours were popular in African American fashion.
  • A landslide popular vote mandated that a fence be built on the border with the Gulf of Mexico.
  • None of these voters noticed when said fence was never built, but $10 million was somehow spent on it anyways.

Honestly, the best thing I can say about Florida is “It ain’t Texas.”

But then I started noticing something.  The other night, I picked up dinner at one of the many roadside barbeque stands that permeate the part of Tampa where I live.  The owner seemed positive and upbeat.  I thought, “Does he not know how hard it is going to be to expand his business?  Does he understand how difficult the government is going to make it for him to keep on smoking all those chickens and ribs and mullet?”  (Remember, this is Florida.)

I thought Florida was known for another kind of mullet, one which I would gladly ban.

But, I don’t really have a leg to stand on here. I’m from Oklahoma, where it is common to find–I shit you not–Barbecue Bologna. Compared to that, barbecue mullet doesn’t have shit on the WTF-o-meter.

I went to the supermarket, and my favorites cashier waved hello and said, “How are you doing, sweetheart?”  Again, I asked myself, “Doesn’t she know what is going to happen to her health care?”

So you at least noticed that the election of Obama hasn’t immediately transformed your dull, homogenous suburban lifestyle into a dystopian hellscape. I guess that’s progress.

I went to a meeting last weekend at a hotel near the airport.  When I walked in, I saw the lobby full of guests whom I easily identified, thanks to my near-obsession with TV bridal reality shows, as members of wedding parties.  As they were all dashing off to make last-minute preparations, I thought, “There are still weddings?  These people must have faith in the future if they still want to get married…right?”

We still have reality TV and marital frivolities! Obama can’t take that away! Unless the gays destroy marriage AND reality TV!

After my meeting, I went to a nearby mall.  When I walked in, I saw that the Christmas decorations were already up.  I am one of those people who find Christmas decorations in early November an abomination and disrespectful to the next holiday in line, Thanksgiving…but this time, I found it comforting to see Santa Claus (the real one — not the government-issued one) sitting in his overstuffed chair, waiting for the youngest among us to make their special requests.

No need to worry. Overthrowing Thanksgiving was a preemptive move in the War on Christmas. Christmas joining homosexuality in the Abomination Club was just an unfortunate bit of collateral damage. Luckily, the Real Santa Claus survived, just to insure that the suburbs are still tolerably monotonous and superficial for you shallow-minded soccer moms.

So to paraphrase Dr. Seuss and the Grinch, the election didn’t stop Christmas from coming.  It’s coming.

“Paraphrase” doesn’t mean “Say something that has nothing to do with and doesn’t even make sense.”

I went to the food court and saw a long line at Chick-fil-A.  I joined it.  As usual, I received great service.  The young man waiting on me was from the demographic that has been so constantly scrutinized of late.  I said to myself, “Please , please don’t grow up to be a Democrat.”  Hopefully he will learn, if he hasn’t already, that working hard and doing a good job are the true ways to success.

Yeah, that menial job at Chick-fil-A certainly has him going places. I’m sure he’s mighty happy to be serving self-centered bitches like you who support policies that will make it very difficult for him to do anything more with his life. That’s the American Dream, after all: Working your ass off for minimum wage so that privileged suburbanites who don’t give a fuck about you can rest easy knowing that their mass produced chicken sandwiches are preventing gays from experiencing the marital bliss they watch on reality TV.

While I ate my lunch, I noticed the family sitting at the table next to me.  There was a little girl who seemed utterly enthralled with the dollar bill she was holding.  I guessed that she hadn’t yet realized how little it buys today!  She was showing it off to her family and kept reading aloud the words “The United States of America.”

Ah, yes. It’s so quaintly beautiful to see those first, innocent buds of greed and jingoism before they’re old enough to understand inflation.

Of course, I started to cry again (I need to buy stock in Kimberly-Clark).

The image of a Republican soccer mom weeping silently over her fag-hating sandwich in a dull, lifeless suburban food court is the kind of thing that gives me hope in this world.

And then, finally, I remembered something.  I remembered that despite everything, we Americans are a strong people, and we will find ways to get on with our lives.  Life may not be the life many us wanted or voted for on November 6, 2012, but life will go on.

You put us through 8 years of Bush. You get no fucking sympathy from me.

“Life will go on.” Jesus titty-motor-boating Christ. Yes, Mary Durbin, you can still eat cheap sandwiches in a food court in suburban Tampa. You can still watch TV. You can still look at Christmas decorations at the mall. You can still live your dull, pointless, myopic existence without a hint of self-awareness. Despite all the scare-mongering and demagoguery that your sponge-like micro-brain absorbs on a regular basis, it remains true that middle class, straight, Christian, Southern suburbanites like you are the people least likely to have their daily lives altered by anything Obama does. I realize that processing cognitive dissonance is difficult for people like you, but think about this: You are at least partially aware of the fact that your daily life will go on mostly unchanged with Obama as President. But you oppose Obama because his policies might make life easier for people who are different from you–namely, poor people and gays. And helping poor people and gays might mean that millionaires (not you) have to pay slightly more taxes–not enough to make them no longer millionaires, but more than they want to. And WHO exactly is telling you that you should oppose Obama because he’s going to destroy your treasured Christmas decorations and chicken sandwiches? The ones he clearly has NOT destroyed?

Shut up, Texas

There’s nothing an Oklahoman like me loves more than making fun of some stupid, smelly Texans. So when I saw this report on CNN about “The most anti-Obama county in the U.S.”, there’s no way I could resist mocking them until they cry sweet tears of humiliating defeat. Yay!