If TV News Existed in 1200BC

No doubt the populations at odds in the Jewish myth of the exodous felt a certain amount of umbrage for the actions of one another. However, in the story, how could have the Jews or the Egyptians known that the god YHVH was purposefully changing the Pharaoh’s mind each time that Moses demanded that his people be released from their servitude.

I, for one, really loved the Eye of Ra transition effect between the different segments of the video.

Well produced and in some ways it pokes satire at modern foreign affairs—although sometimes these occurrences are little laughing matter.

This satirical faux news show is worthy of the Onion News Network.

Link, via YouTube.

Christopher Hitchens dead at 62

After a lengthy, involved battle against esophageal cancer, cultural critic, opinionated journalist, and ardent advocate of atheism, Christopher Hitchens has died.

Vanity Fair has published a report confirming and mourning his death.

His passing will be felt by many and he shall be missed by even more.

“Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.”

- Christopher Hitchens: 1949-2011.

Rick Perry: Not ashamed of being a homophobic bigot and a liar

Oh no wait, he actually says he’s not ashamed to be a Christian. However, after listening to what he said, perhaps he should be—either that or Christians would be ashamed to be grouped with him.

In his newest video, Rick Perry makes up confused lies about Obama’s administration and American jurisprudence while pandering to what can only be described as homophobic bigots as the Christian contingent of his audience.

Right now, this video has 257,247 down votes and only 5,493 up votes.

Not only does Rick Perry make himself a liar; but he also panders to Christians as if they’re ignorant, bigoted cretins. If this is the demographic that he wants to reach—homophobic idiots who don’t care about freedom of religion—I hope he loses his Presidential bid based only on that.

Gays openly serving in the military?

According to Rick Perry: non-ashamed Christians are homophobic, unpatriotic troglodytes.

Children not able to openly pray or celebrate Christmas in school?

Perry, Perry pants on fire.

The same laws that protect religious freedom of students to openly pray in school and celebrate Christmas prohibit public school officials from endorsing religion or leading prayer in schools.

Many who dislike the restriction placed on public school officials (acting as agents of the state) against endorsing religion or leading prayer often dishonestly misrepresent the trials of religious students who get in trouble in school as being it for their religion. For example, a student who disrupts class for opening her Bible and reading out loud during Geography gets sent to the principal for the disruption—not the Bible reading.

A student who gets disciplined for praying non-disruptively during lunch would have a case the ACLU would take against the school for suppressing her right to religious expression. Just like when they faced off against Colorado Springs School District 11 over a student’s right to wear religious symbols.

Rick Perry is complaining about the very underpinnings of what guarantees his right to freedom of religion.

Obama’s War on Religion?

I don’t know what people think has been going on under President Obama’s administration but he’s not really been that big of a friend of the separation of Chruch and State. Obama is also openly Christian and faced criticism for the fundamentalist views of the pastor at his church.

Religion—read: Christianity—has not suffered under Obama’s administration.

A vote for Perry is a vote for shameful bigotry and stupidity

If we want strong leaders in America, perhaps we should look for candidates who don’t insult not only the target of their bigotry but essentially portray their audience as unpleasant, shameful people.

America is already stronger than that.


Notable responses

 

Penn Jillette: An Atheist’s Guide to the 2012 Election

If anything, revealing that President Clinton was far more overtly religious than President Bush is an interesting demonstration about how religiosity is reflected in our culture and among our politicians. Especially because we’ve seen a lot of propaganda attempting to reflect poorly on President Obama by claiming he’s a Muslim, and then shortly (almost in the same breath) blaming him for the wacko-crazy Christian church that he belonged to.

Politicians pander to people in the ways they believe they’ll respond to; religion is both a great divider and a powerful motivator.

Of course, we’re probably not going to see any sort of religious vs. non-religious schism in political frames since really most of the class and language warfare is reflected between the empowered groups and disenfranchised groups. It’s about groping around and holding onto power in the face of other groups trying to take it away — or, especially in the case of the Information Age, the Internet bleeding power away from concentrated groups who maintain themselves by attempting to indoctrinate their children (or citizens, or parishioners) by lensing them a false vision of the rest of the world.

Brother Jed Week at ASU: Monday thru Friday, Feb 21st – 25th

February 21, 2011
11:00 amto5:00 pm
February 22, 2011
11:00 amto5:00 pm
February 23, 2011
11:00 amto5:00 pm
February 24, 2011
11:00 amto5:00 pm
February 25, 2011
11:00 amto5:00 pm

It’s that time again! Time for Brother Jed, aka George Smock, to appear at Arizona State University. This annual event provides enough hostility for the student body immunity to run on for the next year. It’s much like Black Friday for ASU’s immune system when it comes to “old fashioned values” like misogyny, bigotry, and xenophobia. Although he seems to be wearing rather thin, he continues to grace our campus with his presence and he’s brought one his daughters with him this time.

He stated out today by gathering something of a crowd.

As for the big events today, Brother Jed decided to give a long screed about how Muslims don’t fit in with Christian principles—harmless enough, except for when he started wearing his misogyny on his sleeve and pointed out how, “Muslims obviously have much better ideas about how to control their women…” and cherry-topped it with one of his old-dinosaur routines about his wife. He likes to introduce these sorts of narratives and sometimes pointed phrases designed specifically to raise the hackles in the audience. He will sometimes pepper otherwise non-offensive speeches with elements such as, “Well, the women best remain quiet anyway,” in order to get a rise out of the crowd rather than to make any sort of actual point.

Earlier in the day, not entirely related to Brother Jed, a member of the Resistance who posts on this blog, Gadfly, was approached by a female ASU police officer and told to remove her sign. The sign in question, which read “BUTT SEX 4 JESUS” in black block letters on a neon green background, according to the officer was “too aggravating.”

Gadfly felt disinclined to acquiesce to her request and declined the invitation to remove her sign.

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Child Witches Just Aren’t Funny

Unsurprisingly, organized modern-day witch hunts aren’t funny at all. In fact, they’re atrocities of the highest order and compelled and perpetrated by the superstitious and religious who place their religions above the rights and sovereignty of others. This is all-too-common a theme of not just when religions clash over cultural misunderstandings; but it’s also a symptom of a society that hasn’t grounded its morals and laws in defensible secular codes that accept the equality of human life.

Most religious ethics can barely agree on even very basic qualities of human life, arising instead from their tribal forbearers with xenophobic consequences. Often their arguments as to why some people are special and others are not relies on the supernatural or untestable qualities. This is the entire reason why “spectral evidence” has no place in criminal proceedings and is not admissible in a court of law in the United States.

And this is precisely why Christians in Nigeria are committing horrible, indefensible moral evils against children.

Before anyone condemns another human being, especially a walking, living, breathing child of something that could result in such hideous consequences—don’t you think that first we should provide a tangible test first? When was the last time that we treated someone for an illness without a single symptom or gone to repair a wall without observable damage.

Read Leo Igwe’s account of his most recent arrest after rescuing a young girl, Esther; and his subsequent treatment by police and the community for attempting to step in against this ignorant behavior. If you’d like to know more about the child witch phenomena and the religious and cultural background, Martin Robbins of the UK Guardian has an excellent take on recent events.

Don’t forget, people close to home behave in very similar manners as well and it’s our duty to keep them in check through laws and education; as much as it’s their duty to actually educate themselves and not do evil in the name of their religion. Immoral propaganda and campaigns of ignorance do much to provide foundations for these acts and we still see far too many of them lately.

The presenter in the video is R.K Watson from Skepchick.com. You can find more of her videos on YouTUBE.

Symphony of Science – “The Big Beginning” (ft. Hawking, Sagan, Dawkins, Shears, Tyson)

Another beautiful video in the Symphony of Science video series auto-tuning various physicists and scientists about the Big Bang event, a cosmological model that is often misrepresented and misunderstood by anti-science Creationists in their propaganda.

The Good Person Test: “Have you ever looked at another person, who is not your spouse, with lust?”

True to form, the Good Person Test goes back to thought-crime because it cannot address actual moral behavior directly. A problem which persists likely because the script itself has no moral sense and operates out of a sadistic, fake, and uncorroborated “moral authority.” It generates its guilt complex by redefining otherwise normal thoughts as being equivalent to the acts they represent. Just like the people who cannot distinguish between thought and act, this test is sociopathic.

The script here asks, “Have you ever looked at another person and lusted after them?”

From here the script waits for a, “Yes,” answer, people who hear a, “No,” look at the respondent funny like they can’t believe what they’re hearing. There’s a reason for this! Perhaps it’s because anyone of sexual maturity who answers this question in the negative is unhealthy? Perhaps that should inform us as to exactly what kind of a question this one is.

“Then you have already committed adultery in your heart.”

I’d simply call this part of the script juvenile, if it wasn’t so transparently obvious this is another con game using emotional blackmail. It would be simply immature, except the people who wrote this script know exactly what they’re doing and they’re trying to claim guilt atop a facet of human nature. They cannot readily hook people on their actions because social mores actually inform and restrain actions, so the script falls back on trying to get into a person’s head. This is another example of thought-crime.

“Feel bad because you find other people attractive,” it yells, “because I said so!” Just ask them to demonstrate why attraction is immoral…

The obvious answer to this one is just like the “anger” question, “So what?” Ideally what makes morality and makes our world tick is how people behave, it’s not what their lizard-brain jumps out and informs them; the fact that we can lead sane, efficient lives in spite of all this adultery going on in our hearts tells us that weirdly, “committing adultery in one’s heart” has absolutely no moral effect on the world.

The logical end of this particular statement that you are already condemned for adultery if you simply look at someone else with lust. Yes? You might as well have gone and drawn them away into the bushes and actually gotten some bang for your punishment—after all, according to The Good Person Test there is no moral difference between the impulse and acting it out. With that moral equivalence in place there’s no reason to suppress the behavior. Another example of how sociopathic this test becomes when addressed with reasonable scrutiny.

It’s probably apparent by now that this moral blindness is rampant in this test to determine the goodness of a person. The test itself isn’t just amoral: it’s immoral—it goes out of its way to conflate morally divorced concepts just to make its sale; when it does this it goes the further step which is to attempt to convict the person of the worse guilt on the basis of the weak or nonexistent one. And in cases like this one, it uses a natural, healthy, human reaction in order to do it.

Treating healthy human beings as if what they feel is just as bad as if they acted upon it does harm to the positive outlook of a psyche on the world. This sort of abuse is nearly irreconcilable. People who use the Good Person Test are deliberately inflicting injury on credulous and social individuals who stop to listen to them.

This part of the test in particular is designed to do harm.

People who use the Good Person Test and make it to this part have already gone through numerous morally blind statements and they’ve made gross, false accusations veiled in the “admission” of the audience before they reach this one. With this one they play on the psychosexual social mores that have insinuated this sort of behavior into our society already—poking and prodding for a weakness—and they’ve found one of the best ones: making people feel immoral because of healthy behavior.

When a person makes something healthy into something to feel guilty over they themselves are guilty of poisoning our social experience. And not one of us should hold them blameless.

Previous: “Have you ever stolen anything, even something insignificant?”

Index: The Good Person Test is immoral

The Good Person Test: “Have you ever stolen anything, even something insignificant?”

This particular question is sometimes denied by the audience (seems that people don’t often steal things) but when it is answered, “Yes.” The next part of the script is to get them to answer what people who steal are called, and the answer is, “A thief.” To which the interviewer then claims that the audience has admitted to being a thief.

Sometimes if the interviewer cannot get a satisfactory answer out of the audience they attempt to conflate theft with goofing off at work or downloading music from the Internet. (Never let someone attempt to suggest that copyright infringement is theft: they’re wrong about the law and should educate themselves.) This behavior is common to the script of The Good Person Test, when it feels like it cannot stick someone with one of its pins it starts to play linguistic and semantic games.

Does taking a quarter from your sibling when you were six really make you a thief? This is a deliberate distortion that insinuates that a singleton act can condemn a person to a label that as a group we wouldn’t put on any individual unless they showed a pattern of theft. It then sociopathically conflates the entire spectrum of harm caused by theft from the most petty to the most damaging into the same moral exactitude. This is the same black and white thinking failure seen throughout the script.

Perhaps people just haven’t gotten it yet, but a person is not a thief if they take something once and then end up making recompense for it. Theft does actually cause damage. It’s illegal because it removes property from another person, it causes harm; the extent of that harm varies—and it varies widely. The moral nature of the theft is tied directly to the harm caused by the theft.

To ask someone: “have you ever stolen something, even something insignificant?” and then say, “If you have, you’re a thief!” is flippantly disrespectful of everyone listening because the script is going out of its way to ignore harm and then act like all theft is equal.

This is just another pale, transparent attempt to denigrate the audience without actual substance. It has little bearing on actual moral behavior and serves only to buttress the black and white, non-sequitur conclusions advocated by the script.

Next: “Have you ever looked at another person, who is not your spouse, with lust?”

Previous: “Have you ever told a lie, no matter how trivial?”

Index: The Good Person Test is immoral

The Good Person Test: “Have you ever told a lie? No matter how trivial.”

According to the script at this point if the person says, “Yes,” which they invariably shall, the interviewer then tells them that they are therefore a liar. This can be played any number of ways, generally the interviewer will try to get them to “admit” that they’re a liar by asking them, “What do we call people who tell lies?” “Well, liars.” If the person for some reason says that they’ve never told a lie the interviewer either dismisses or laughs at them.

There are number of grossly disrespectful assumptions being made here. One, wrapped up in their definition of “lie”, seems to be that any misrepresentation, no matter how minor or trivial, makes you a liar. Except that this is only the case for grade school children—and even they quickly forget the slight of being told something that was untrue. Why? Because the social animals that we are carefully shape our speech in order to communicate our boundaries.

Only a person who is consistently dishonest (pathological), inflicts injury with dishonesty, or commits fraud gets to wear the label “liar.” This is because everyone knows full well that the thresholds of what each of us consider to be honesty vary greatly between different people, different situations, and even differing levels of veracity. Furthermore, back to the boundaries issue, to be social animals we cannot always be fully honest with one another; there are social situations which exist where we are forced by protocol to dance around honest answers.

For this type of emotional blackmail to work for the Good Person Test must assert that nearly every use of deliberate misrepresentation must be the worst kind.

Some of the people who use the Good Person Test appear to know this well enough that they try to make a loophole for it, stating that discretion isn’t lying. Which means pretty much most people aren’t in fact “liars” because they’ve therefore never really told a “lie.” But they cannot hold to this definition because it makes this entire part of the script moot. And everyone who listens to it should know this.

Is lying always immoral? Let’s take the case of Anne Frank. We have a case where a reigning authority is searching for particular people whom you have every reason to believe are innocent and the direct result of their capture will be their horrible torture and deaths. Do you lie in order to protect them from a horrific fate? Does telling the truth therefore make you culpable for their horrible torture and murder? In this case it would appear that lying is extremely moral; but also telling the truth would be distinctly immoral.

Perhaps moral acts aren’t as simple as singleton script stanzas without nuance.

The Good Person Test is once again attempting to put a hook into natural social behavior. It makes the assertion that “all lying is bad/immoral” and therefore people should be eternally condemned for it—but then it fails to explain why. Like every other step of the Good Person Test it attempts to leverage guilt over telling lies as a reason of calling someone guilty of breaking an asserted “law.”

The worst part about this portion of the Good Person Test is that it’s then leveraged as a pathetic attempt to weaken the resolve of the person answering questions. Specifically I am going to call out a very singular abuse of social and extroverted individuals. If the interviewer is capable of getting them to admit that they’re a “liar” through manipulative semantics they then pull this line out of the script on the next question:

“But how can I believe you? You admitted you’re a liar.”

This is abusive. It is an uncalled for disrespect of the person who has taken their time to answer these questions, it is set up for emotional blackmail, and a deliberate denigration of a peer—no amount of jocularity or false irony added to this line make it any less inexcusable. This specific line mocks the good faith that anyone answering these questions—it is beyond the pale in its contempt of the audience.

Finally, this question does damage to the very fabric and core of what it is to be social and loving creatures. It deliberately ignores and dismisses all the truth that a person may have told in their life; and instead places an unlikely and unexplained weight only to lying while all actual honesty feather-light in comparison.

In our interactions with other people do we want to dismantle, damage, and disrespect them because they can and have told lies in their lives? What kind of test for a “good person” fails to weight based on good done and instead gives even minor wrongs a greater strength. This is sociopathic.

This is a test immoral in its own right. It is trying only to puncture the self-esteem of an otherwise good, honest individual by baldly exploiting the weaknesses of every social animal; and then uses that puncture in order to get unsupported and knowable false claims of guilt accepted.

Next: “Have you ever stolen anything, even something insignificant?”

Previous: “Have you ever been angry at someone?”

Index: The Good Person Test is immoral