Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Okay, America is an oligarchic nation with an inbred aristocracy; I don't care what anyone says, a common man cannot be President. From BBC World News:

Mr Obama is the son of a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya.

He has recently been identified as a tenth cousin of George W Bush. He was previously identified as a distant cousin of US Vice-President Dick Cheney.

His political lineage includes not just President Bush but also Gerald Ford, Lyndon Johnson, Harry S Truman, Dick Cheney and Winston Churchill.

The connection made with Hollywood star Brad Pitt adds a welcome splash of glamour to his family tree.

But Mrs Clinton's kin has much more of an exotic feel.

Her distant cousins include the singers Madonna, Celine Dion and Alanis Morisette, as well as the beatnik author Jack Kerouac and Prince Charles's wife, Camilla Parker-Bowles.

She and Angelina Jolie are ninth cousins, twice removed. They are both related to one Jean Cusson, who died in St Sulpice, Quebec, in 1718.

If the Hollywood couple, collectively known as "Brangelina", decide on a very extended family gathering, it could provide the perfect opportunity for the two Democratic presidential rivals to get together.


Unrelatedly, I think that Hillary's "mistake" about her arrival under sniper fire in Bosnia in 1996 is one of the worst lies in politics. Most lies are campaign promises; everyone expects those.

"I certainly do remember that trip to Bosnia, and as Togo said, there was a saying around the White House that if a place was too small, too poor, or too dangerous, the president couldn't go, so send the First Lady. That’s where we went. I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base." --HRC, 17 March 2008
"I did make a mistake in talking about it, you know, the last time and recently. So I made a mistake. That happens. It proves I'm human, which, you know, for some people, is a revelation." --HRC, 25 March 2008

But she insulted the careful intelligence and efforts of the US military to keep her safe (the Secret Service would *never* put the First Lady and her daughter in a situation of danger), in order to make herself look more experienced and more willing to face danger.

I mean, come on, how desperate is she getting? There is NOTHING WRONG with admitting that you were the First Lady, and thus everyone was making every effort to keep you safe at every moment. And they succeeded; there was no sniper fire. This is a *compliment* to the troops, Hillary, use it, like you use everything else, you deceitful bitch.

Very rarely am I ever actually offended by lies that politicians make. And I've been unnaturally sympathetic towards Hillary in recent weeks. However, she is insulting those who did everything they could to keep her safe, and that's not okay. I've seen first-hand how hard these guys work, I can't let that insult stand. Repent, Hillary, and give the nomination to Obama (...I can dream).

Plato once said that the rulers of states are the only ones who should have the privilege of lying. And Hillary, you're just not there yet.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Warning: Potentially offensive speech ahead.

A happy Easter to all, except to Creationists, who are not worth their religion.

They are worth nothing. They are worth less than nothing. They do harm by existing. They are worse than worthless, because they spread such a dilute and empty form of vacant thought, mixed with such dangerously unguided passion. They are not misguided; they are unguided. They are confused.

Somewhere in history, religion branched off and freed itself from the shackles of logic and philosophical rigor, divorcing itself from science, reason, common sense, and eventually all sanity. This rogue strand of religion is now floundering out in the ocean of blind faith, clinging to driftwood and calling it Science. Ideas have no lungs, and so can scream loudly while thus drowning.

There is nothing worth saving about this cult of Creation; their intellect is fit for criminals and liars, their theology is fit for fantasy and fiction writers, their enthusiasm is fit for children and lunatics who get worked up into frenzies about nothing at all. Creationism exists for no purpose, extolling a hollow shell of Christianity while promoting fanaticism for its own sake. There is nothing unselfish about this movement; it is laughable, yet painful, because it robs so many of purpose and of life, this selfish meme. It is a crime to raise a child in such an environment, although such a crime shall not be punishable by any law other than natural selection. Of course, they don't believe in evolution...

I wish instead, to Creationists, the ability to understand, for instance, how lucky they are to have an Easter to celebrate. Or how lucky they are to have a brain cognizant of what Easter is, and what religion is, and what it all should be. If you're going to take the chance and assert that Christianity (or any religion) is true, you'd better be smart, and you'd better be aware of how absurd a thing it really is. Only then can you even pretend to have a right to believe it. Silly Creationists. Your IQ must be this high to believe in Jesus... ::smacks head against wall::

—– Added: —–

Ok, so I realize I’m a bit harsh, and that if I were a Creationist reading this I’d be upset. However, it is probably crucial for their own religion’s survival that they chill out and attempt to be reasonable. Perhaps they mistake their blind and pure faith for nobility and strength. Perhaps they think that God will forgive them for their inattention to intellect or theological rigor. Perhaps they really do think that Faith alone will save them. And that’s just pathetic.

I realize now that I am insulting most Christians in this country, but that’s the country’s fault, not mine. Perhaps this addition, intended to be apologetic, is in fact worse than the original post. Perhaps it will be unintentionally insulting in my attempt to further elaborate on my distaste for unfettered passion, where there should be calmly metered confidence in something you explore and attempt to understand.

See, even if you can’t prove something, you can attempt to display reason. You can exercise your head as well as your heart, and you can make full use of all the faculties your God gave you. While some seem to think laughably drastic claims are praise (see: http://spiritlessons.com/), there is an incredible appearance of insecurity in your God, if you have to lie about Him.

There exists a limit such that the plausibility of a claim approaches zero, as the fantasticalness of that claim approaches infinity. To avoid offending the sensibilities of, well, sensible people, it might be wise to display some sense in your argument.

In science, observations are considered “real” if they can be measured across multiple modalities (vision, hearing, mass spectrometry, etc). The more ways something can be observed, the more “real” it is considered.

God cannot be measured, as far as I know, across any modality (and if you know, please do tell me). But to seek Him through your mental as well as spiritual faculties, is to display an understanding of what reality is, and evidence of an attempt to move in that direction.

I honestly don’t think an atheist would have a problem with a theist who understood and was very passionate about reason and method and the logical objections most atheists have. If a theist understands all of these things, and can clearly demonstrate that, and still chooses to believe in God, well, that’s okay, I have no problem with that. They simply have some experience or understanding I lack. But since they have all the understanding that I do have as an atheist/skeptic, I will give them all the benefits of the doubt.

What skeptics hate about theists, specifically Creationists, is the confidence they have in being correct, while completely lacking an understanding for basic scientific theory (which includes degrees of empiricism and positivism), and seemingly lacking the courage or independence to question their tradition.

It is the kid who does not believe that 2+2=4, no matter how many times you explain it to him. And then, when he tells you he doesn’t believe 2+2=4, he hits you in the face and takes your lunch money, you damned offensive heathen, stop offending my religion. It’s truly offensive that people can use religion as a shield for stupidity. If I were a serious theist, I’d be angry.

If I were a Christian, I’d probably hate Creationists even more than I do now, for making my religion look bad, and for refusing to take the time to understand millennia of intellectual subtleties. Bastards… Giving a generation an excuse to be lazy, to be fanatics, to feel important, to feel safe, to feel saved. To think hard is to suffer doubt, and doubt is the greatest sin of all. So to avoid sin they avoid thought, but to avoid thought is to avoid understanding Christianity in the first place, and thus never capable of understanding or even committing a sin to begin with. I’m not sure how to respond to this, except to replace Creationism with some other sect of Christianity.

Religion is too deep a part of human nature, it will never go away. But I’ll take the better of two evils; I’ll take thought over ignorance any day. So, my Creationist brothers and sisters, I will respect you as Christians if you demonstrate a respect for reason and truth. You may not have to be atheists, but you should not be afraid of skepticism. In being afraid of skepticism, you doubt your God’s ability to overcome tiny atheists like me. Your God will not fail you, if he is as you think. So start here, and we’ll all get along just fine…