Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Joy of Religion

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is defending his decision to exclude religious leaders from New York City's commemoration of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, saying Friday that "government shouldn't be forcing" religion "down people's throats."

 Fuck you Michael Bloomberg! How is it "forcing religion down people's throats" to have religious ceremonies at the 9/11 site? You can participate without believing anything. Who cares?

We had a big Discussion over lunch and Son objected that having religious ceremonies in the public square was the slippery slope to creationism in the public schools etc. He didn't think there was any way to draw the line. But surely there is. We just tell the fundamentalists: no respect for your "values" or your idiotic ideas about the origin of species. We allow, and promote, all the superficial religiousity anyone pleases--school prayer, religious ceremonies at Ground Zero for 9/11, crosses on hilltops, but give no ground to your stinking conservative "values."

Of all the detestable things that the evangelicals have done the worst is destroying the pleasure of religion. Now we can't have religious goodies without worrying that they give support to the lower class stinking shit evangelicals and their detestable conservative views. Up the ass of the working class! Evangelicals eat shit--die you detestable, stupid, tasteless filth.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

US judges rule for teacher who called creationism 'superstitious nonsense'

“Aristotle … argued, you know, there sort of has to be a God. Of course that’s nonsense,” Corbett said according to a transcript of his lecture. “I mean, that’s what you call deductive reasoning, you know. And you hear it all the time with people who say, ‘Well, if all this stuff that makes up the universe is here, something must have created it.’ Faulty logic. Very faulty logic.”

He continued: “The other possibility is, it’s always been there.… Your call as to which one of those notions is scientific and which one is magic.”

Wait a minute. He didn't just call "Creationism" nonsense--he called theism, belief in God as such, nonsense. But neither he nor the headline writer are making what they must assume to be niggling fine distinctions between theism and "creationism." It's all very simple. There is Science, which presupposes atheism, and everything else is magic, nonsense and faulty logic.

This guy wouldn't know logic if it kicked him in the teeth. He seems to think that deductive reasoning is a particular kind of fallacy. But I'm sure he passes as one of the grand intellectuals of the San Juan Capistrano public school district because he spouts this crap in his AP history class.

This story has gotten play all over the internet as an inspiring victory for freedom of speech over the narrow-minded bigotry of conservative evangelicals. And of course neither the media nor the public make fine distinctions: all religious believers are tarred with the same brush. No one dares criticize this guy for fear of being tagged as an ignorant, bigoted fundamentalist.

But there are very good reasons why this guy's performance was unacceptable. It was first of all gratuitously insulting. But more importantly he doesn't know what he's talking about but sets up as an authority awakening kids from their dogmatic slumbers. "Faulty logic"--I'm sure the kids, and their parents are impressed. What an intellectual! And he mentions Aristotle. What an intellectual!

Monday, August 01, 2011

The President Surrenders on Debt Ceiling -

The President Surrenders on Debt Ceiling - "The President Surrenders

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That stinking wimp Obama has sold me down the river--and my kids. I'm furious!

We can't win because liberalism has become a style instead of an ideology. Liberals eat arugula and lite healthy things--not nasty red meat gotten by killing animals. Liberals are nice. So in December when BO should have pressed the Republicans to raise the debt ceiling he didn't because he trusted them to "behave responsibily"--the very phrase, the quintessence of school marm goody-goodyism.

Well life is war--it is a constant, ongoing fight and whoever blinks loses. That is something Obama and his supporters don't seem to get. But Republicans do--and so they win. But we are still back in the Summer of Love passing out flowers

We have to beat the crap out of these bastards and take no prisoners. Lie, cheat, steal make those shits suffer, humiliate and crucify them.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Religious Quandry

Now here's a question. Is religion really just a mechanism for social control and, in particular, for promoting a socially conservative agenda? Is there any more, or other, to it than that?

I'm inclined to think that there is. And I have no sympathy with the standard socially conservative agenda--on sexuality, abortion or "family values." But what else is there to religion now, as it is on the ground? Culture Wars has shaped up into a conflict between a liberal, secular elite--whose "values" I support--and a socially conservative, religious proletariat, with whom I have no sympathy.

What do I do? Oh, yeah. The Episcopal Church is socially liberal. But the problem is that they're a bunch of politically correct dingbats and don't believe in God. So the church scene is just the secular society scene in microcosm. Religious believers who are socially conservative, i.e. they want me typing and filing, nurturing and doing womanshit vs. atheists who despise me for my religious beliefs. What a bummer!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mladic’s Arrest: What Did Serbia Know? by Charles Simic | NYRBlog | The New York Review of Books

Mladic’s Arrest: What Did Serbia Know? by Charles Simic | NYRBlog | The New York Review of Books: "The big question is why the Serbian government waited so long to arrest him, because it is difficult to believe that security services had completely lost his trail after he ceased to be protected by the army some years back.

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Why? Because the Serbs are a primitive tribal culture. They take care of their own, as understood in terms of race and blood. What do you expect? Obliterate all stinking non-Western cultures.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Solution: Give Everybody Money!

I've been reading Nixonland, a journalistic history of Nixon and his times--times I remember from my college days, when there were riots and protests, sit-ins, teach-ins and occasionally love-ins, and when I marched for something I knew not what.

One thing I learnt in college was that rich people were in just about every way better than poor people. I came from a gritty city where people were cynical and corrupt. The working class people I knew led dreary lives and were perfectly awful people: completely conventional, intolerant and tasteless. The men were brutal--and when young prone to violence.

I went to a small overpriced college for rich underachievers in a posh suburb of Chicago and there met adults who were, at least on the surface, decent human beings. Even if they were hypocrites that was a step in the right direction: at least they had shame. You could talk to them: they weren't just, like the working class people I'd known, tape loops making noises about immediate features of their environments and repeating trivial cliches. They weren't obsessed with discipline to enforce rigid conformity in even the most trivial details. The men weren't scary.

Anyone who likes the working class has never met the working class.

So the solution to all our social problems is simple: the obliteration of the working class through social mobility. When people have money, comfort and material security they become better people because they can afford to be better people. They can afford to be honest, generous and kind. It's when people are living on the edge they can't risk decent behavior: when they live in a tough, brutal, unfair world they become tough, brutal and corrupt. So the solution is simple: give 'em money! Make them upper middle class!

The trouble is that Republicans have sold themselves as the party of tough appealing to the lower classes and promoting policies that will make things even tougher for them--insuring, they hope, a permanent Republican majority.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Secular Studies Major
I don't know whether to be surprised that it happened or surprised that it took so long: a California college has become the first in the nation to offer a major in secularism.
Ho-hum. More of the usual New Atheist boosterism, harping yet again on the same old theme: in a world dominated by bigoted Christians brave atheists are at last asserting themselves and being recognized.

I suppose somewhere there is the world they imagine, where religious believers are in a comfortable majority, where atheists have been closeted and are only now able to "come out" because of the efforts of brave secularists. Where these places are I do not know. I've lived in every corner of the US, the most religious nation of the Global North, and I've never been to a place where anyone cared about anyone's religious beliefs or even noticed their religious affiliation or lack thereof.

Identifying individuals as "atheists" seems peculiar--like characterizing people as "sighted," "hearing" or "literate." In Academia, where I've spent most of my life, religious belief is pecular: we talk about "theists," not "atheists." And if people discover you're a theist (as I am) they're amazed and look at you funny. So it's hardly surprising that a college is offering a major in secularism: it's our culture.

Still, I wonder how long atheists can make out they the are a brave, counter-cultural minority. In the last 20 years the percentage of "Nones" in the US--individuals who say that they "have no religion" has more than doubled, from 7% to 15%. And amongst young Americans, aged 18 to 30, 40% are Nones. Atheism is a status symbol: it marks you as young, educated, urban and smart. About the only thing more uncool than being religious is being fat.

Still it's hard to see how secularism can provide enough material for a major. There are a great many religions and a great deal to say about them even if you don't believe any of them are true. And virtually all religious scholars, who study them, are atheists. But how much can you say about secularism--the absence of religious belief and practice. Do you copy everything that religious studies scholars study and add "not"?

A major in secularism seems suspiciously like making illiteracy the a subject of a college major. There's a lot of literature in English and other languages--more than enough for a major in literature. But there does not seem enough to say about illiteracy to make illiteracy studies a major. There is something to be said about illiteracy, which may be of interest to sociologists and other social scientists, but not enough for a major. And the same seems to be true of secularism.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Revolution is On!

I wonder now how deeply implicated the US was in keeping the despots in the Middle East in power. I'd suspect lots. And I was taken in by the propaganda--was blind and now I see.

The real question always was: "Do we want these countries to like us or to be like us." The propaganda intentionally muddles the two questions. So the Bush administration pushed for regime change by persuading us that democracy meant installing one of our clients as a benevolent despot. And of course we assumed that our friend Saudi Arabia, where it's illegal to build a church and women can't drive, was a model of freedom, justice and the American Way.

Well, I sincerely want them to be like us. And I no longer assume that being our friend, or being under our thumb, is either necessary nor sufficient for being a democratic, decent human society.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Guest Voices: Organized religion is big business - On Faith at

Guest Voices: Organized religion is big business - On Faith at "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Big Businesses famously roll on in this country because we're scared of letting them fail. And if there truly is an American business that's too big to send swirling down the economy's drain, it's the Organized Religion Industry (O.R.I)....The premise of the O.R.I, that you need religion in order to live as a person of faith, is, if you'll excuse me for saying so, unpardonable hooey. It's perfectly possible to live as person of faith without being religious; to live in partnership with God, the great Whatever, without swaddling your relationship in any of organized religion's folderol. It's absolutely fine to, in God's name and in It's company, put your time, energy, and money directly into doing some good for and with your fellow inhabitants of this sweet old world. And to let the sound and fury of the O.R.I. play on without you.

Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit piled higher and deeper. I worship the Church, I adore the Church, I give thanks to the Church which is the incarnation of God here on earth and love Organized Religion with all my heart and soul and mind because it is my God.

I don't give a rat's ass about living as a "person of faith" whatever that might be or living "in partnership with God, the great Whatever" whatever that comes to. I care about the institutional church--the institution that maintains the buildings and does liturgy. I care about religiosity. It it doesn't survive our lives will be poorer because we won't have those buildings, the sacred space the Church maintains, or the ceremonies it organizes. I worship the Church, I adore the Church, I give thanks to the Church for its greater glory because it is my God. I love organized religion with all my heart and soul and mind.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Egyptians Muster for a New Protest as Crackdown Widens -

Egyptians Muster for a New Protest as Crackdown Widens - "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Hello, Egyptians (if anyone is reading this). I don't know how else to sent this message but...please, please keep fighting! I cheered for the green revolution in Iran, that's now underground but which I believe will emerge. Please keep fighting. And I can only say "please" because it isn't my life, or safety or property on the line. So I only hope that you're better people than I am because I don't know if I'd have the guts to push this through.

I'm really disgusted at the extent to which US foreign policy has been determined by our "realistic" concern to promote our own national interests. I'm especially disgusted because it associates "modernity"--democracy and the whole business of the Enlightenment with European colonialism, neo-colonialism and, in particular, American hegemony. It isn't hard to imagine what it would be like on the ground anywhere in the middle east, given the brute empirical facts, to think that "democracy" just means an American military base down the road, redneck soldiers screwing local girls and checkpoints at every major intersection. If that's democracy, who wants it. If that's modernity I'd take a pass.

I know most people in this revolution know better, and just pray that they pursue it. I pray that this thing works. The old saw is that nationalism doesn't work in the Global South because there are no real nation-states--geopolitical entities that track real nations. Egypt seems to be the most striking counterexample--possibly the oldest nation on earth: I think roughly 7000 years old.

I do hope this works. Not because I want more US allies or because I want to see Israel safe. But because I believe in the Enlightenment, believe in modernity--in democracy, egalitarianism and all it offers. Please, please keep fighting. I wish I could do more. Please fight and show everyone else similarly situated that change is possible. Make my day.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The War on Logic -

The War on Logic - "And it’s not about the money. As I tried to explain in my last column, the modern G.O.P. has been taken over by an ideology in which the suffering of the unfortunate isn’t a proper concern of government, and alleviating that suffering at taxpayer expense is immoral, never mind how little it costs.

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