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You seem to have confused opinion with arseholery

Do not google Cephalopodic Lust
with the safe search off. Trust me…

When you run a blog, you expect people to read your work. You hope that word of mouth spreads and that people form opinions. You hope that this opinions generates discussion, like a kind of typing based salon that is your comments section except there is less pastry and absinthe and more swearing and bad spelling mistakes. But it’s your opinion, you are pretty much allowed to say whatever you feel like. I can for instance make the claim that PZ Myers is a squid obsessed lunatic whose cephalopodic lust will doom us all to a death by those tentacled killing machines, and if we do not stop him and his  Japanese Whaling Allies they will destroy our only hope. Whales…

See it’s an opinion. It’s mental as fuck. It’s stupidly so. However I could have easily launched into a giant diatribe about Hemant Mehta using a inventive swearing and a variety of scenarios. Or I could have just said sexist and racist stuff (Women belong in the kitchen because men cannot cook and if women don’t cook for us we will all starve because our minds cannot comprehend the usage of fire for constructive purposes!) all day causing a variety of people to post in the comments.

But see if you didn’t realise I wrote the above things to make a point, you would feel indignant. You would begin the equivalent of a mob beat down. My comments would be overflowing! But that’s if I just valued comments. I totally do, but I value them for their value of their content. I like the feedback I do receive on the rare occasion that someone does post. But that’s the thing, the number of posts doesn’t matter as much. I would get more by being a complete arsehole.

 But that’s not how you fuel discussion. That’s how you fuel angry invective and that isn’t conducive to an experience where you communicate new ideas and discuss things. It’s not productive it’s catharsis. It’s haterade of the finest quality, one sip and all that matters is telling me how much of a dick I am. A lot of people on some websites use this kind of method to create traffic. Post something controversial and then watch as the hate clicks come in. This is particularly common on websites that pay writers by the visitor generated.

Ben Cochran didn’t understand this difference. He assumed that controversial statement is conducive to discussion. It isn’t. Writing “Fuck Jesus” isn’t going to get people to discuss atheism it’s going to get people to get angry and make noises about killing the author or make noises about how they support the whole “Fuck Jesus” campaign.

Rabble! Rabble! Rabble!

His apology is not one. It’s a non-apology. He basically produced a horrid piece of opinion without any benefit of being parody or humour expecting people to clap him on the back rather than turn out to lay a feminist (or in my case a medical themed) beat down. Not all opinions are equal, most are kind of stupid. If someone said “I am of the opinion that the government is listening to our thoughts so as to sell us as cattle to the Reptilian overlords” then we are completely within our rights to treat you like a paint eating moron or a psychiatric case (which you may well be if you said something that delusional).

So let’s dissect what he said and where it went so wrong. 

“People go to the doctor when they’re sick. If you’re a girl, sometimes you go to the doctor to get Pabst beer, or a pap smear, or something like that. What girl have you ever heard of that goes to a doc in the box for birth control? None of them. They go to their gyno. It’s a matter of efficiency. If you have a lung problem, you see a pulmonologist. If you have a heart problem, you see a cardiologist. If you have a cunt problem, you see a gynecologist.”

And make sure it’s on fire!

People go to the doctors when they are sick or for regular check ups to detect chronic diseases such as hypertension or diabetes. It’s why you have regular check ups, a lot of medicine is prevention rather than curative. Eat healthier, do some exercise, enjoy some time with your family… all these are part of my training. 

And kudos on the tasteless pun. Pap Smear vs. Pabst Beer? I mean, if you are going to limbo under the bar of good taste you may as well impress us by setting the bar close to the ground and Mr. Cochran achieves that spectacularly.

And while I am not a fan of using the terminology of “lady bits” to describe the female reproductive system I tend to prefer the word cunt to be used to describe people who are high grade arseholes. I don’
t mean any harm to women, it’s a sad coincidence that the word also means vagina and can be used demean women, but quite frankly post his lovely diatribe if someone stood up and said “Ben Cochran is a cunt” I am damn sure most women would agree with that person.

Oh my yes! My feelings exactly!

So I’m sitting in student health the other day, sneezing my friggin eyes out and coughing up green oysters wondering what in the name of great Zeus’s beard is taking so long. I’m just trying to get seen and have this purulent mucus extricated from my hacking body.Half an hour later, I finally see some movement stirring from across the waiting room. Anurse exits with about half a dozen girls, all grinning from ear to ear, bubbly and giggly as if they just scored their first alcohol purchase with a fake id. In their hands they carried what seemed like a solid 36 month’s worth of birth control.

Firstly, there was someone already ahead of him. In cases such as Student Health which I assume is a low end primary health care run by staff grade nurses and perhaps a matron/nurse practitioner, people generally come in for healthcare check ups and small issues. Traditionally, one queues in this sort of situation. Trust me on this bit, I know how to queue. I am british.

Secondly, you have the cold. Not the plague, it’s not a medical emergency and even if it was you would have gone to a hospital. All it means is your head is filled with mucous. Blow your nose and perhaps invest in a towel and some hot water to breath in some steam rather than expecting some nurse to root around inside your nose like you are some sort of giant infant.

Thirdly, birth control pills are a vital healthcare provision. 

First of all, not even porn stars need that much birth control. Second of all, do you mean to seriously tell me that I’ve been sitting here in misery for the last half an hour just so that this gaggle of preemie sluts could get a free pass on harlotry?

Fascinating my good man! Your incisive wit, observation and humour astound me. Perhaps they should have graciously heard your mucous laden honks and understood the underlying suffering and pain that you were going through. But no, they were too self obsessed in their own birth control to understand the precious flower that is Ben Cochran. Perhaps you should write some poetry or perhaps a song about how we don’t understand the suffering you were going through because some women merely wanted to have the ability to chose when they had children. Perhaps you should have gone to a real hospital where they would have seen you instantly and emptied your sinuses without the need of having to wait for obviously less serious cases to be seen.

Go read your Redbook in the lobby of a specialist while you get a mani as you wait to get your hatchet wound inspected. Leave student health for those of us that are in actual need of medical attention. 

Look, this is a university—an ivory tower of academic prowess. We don’t need to be
handing out birth control left and right especially from an on campus location. This is a
bastion for the intellectually competent. If you find your talents to lend themselves to a more base and carnal nature, perhaps this just isn’t the place for you.

I am not sure that the appropriate term for a vagina is the hatchet wound. I mean, maybe it’s changed since I finished anatomy but I could have sworn the medical name for “the lady bits” is the vagina. And for a nursing student, Mr. Cochran seems awfully incapable of understanding why contraception exists. And he seems rather lousy at understanding the problems of people and their issues. And yes we should hand out more birth control, because you know what? People like to have sex. It’s great fun. But safe sex should always be encouraged and it’s cheap and effective to do so and prevents further complications. Now I understand Mr. Cochran probably is like me and a big fan of women and probably tries to have sex… But for the young woman there is an onus to ensure she doesn’t get pregnant while for me and Mr. Cochran there is not bar common courtesy. Using a condom is fine but some ladies like an extra bit of insurance “just in case”. 

You guys can fuck off too!
Keg stands are not allowed in the Ivory Tower!

I don’t take issue with sex mongers. They serve their place. Hell, according to the bible, it’s the oldest known profession on earth. So you sultry sex fiends are clearly established, but this is a place of higher being. Please take your gaping holes elsewhere for medical services, and leave the real health issues to those that actually belong on a college campus.

Of course not, you probably like them in your bars and bedroom but not in the way of you getting seen for a bit of mucous? Heaven forbid the sex monger wishes to get an education, I mean if women get educated they may start having higher standards than some misogynistic neandrathal who follows the whole Frat Boy ethos. They may start wanting a man who doesn’t refer to their vaginas as hatchet wounds. They may want a man who doesn’t think of them as a sex monger. In short they may want someone who isn’t Ben Cochran.

And all of this is despite Ben being a nursing student. If anything it proves that Mr. Cochran’s talents are less suited for the ivory tower and more suited towards White Castle.

Rights of the Silent Majority – 180

Earlier I spoke of my distaste for the hypothetical game and indeed for Ray Comfort’s take on it.

The problem being that people tend to answer the obvious answer in a hypothetical game, that life seldom is yes or no and more often it is various different shades of grey. And that I promised I would review Ray’s now short movie, 180…

I did it. And it was tedious and faulty to it’s very core.

See two can play at this game. 

This is comedy, they aren’t being serious about americans falling into the stereotype of stupid. The same show ran a joke where they took a big wooden horse around Australia and tried to get people to accept it as a gift (the horse was filled with greek soldiers. They got it into an army base…)

But do you really think Americans are that stupid? That they wouldn’t know where these places were? Or that they editted the responses to look like every american they asked didn’t know?

Likewise Ray probably walked around for hours trying to find someone who didn’t know who the hell was Hitler and what he did. It must have taken him a fair while in fact.

Your hate based tattoos and idiotic hairstyle make you
an excellent commentor on the human condition.
Quick sprout more hatred on the camera!
Next, Ray unleashes the G-Bomb. He Godwin’s the argument torpedoing any credibility faster than a U-Boat in a shipping lane by bringing Hitler into the equation. This is called Playing the Nazi Card. And he does so quite spectacularly, by calling up a neo-nazi with questionable hair choices as a credible example of someone who isn’t christian. The video stops to give this fine individual some time to voice his views on the world which involve how awesome White Man is compared to all the Niggers and Jews. And he proves this through his mohawk and questionable tattoos. This isn’t a man who should be the spokesperson of any movement, even one as odious and twisted with hate as the neo-nazis. This man is not a symbol of hate but an object of ridicule. I understand you are free to tattoo yourself and get a stupid haircut. I mean god knows where my football players would be if not for bad tattoos and even worse haircuts, but they are hired to kick a ball around while this man would only be hired for the sole purpose of proving to kids that individuality doesn’t mean common sense. 

This is the kind of man Hitler would have wanted in a gas chamber. Because atheism and freethought was illegal in German. Many freethinkers found themselves in the same position as the Jews. Staring down the choice of slavery or possible death in the camps. 

Which is rather irritating. Associating people with Hitler isn’t conducive as a serious argument. And what’s more disturbing is his almost gleeful exploitation of this horrid event in human history to push his point across to the stupidest people he could find in the US. The worst crime is forgetting that the very people who perpetrated this crime were christians and theists. That they didn’t do anything wrong by the teachings of their religion, what we found so repulsive about their actions and indeed those of the Japanese was because we embraced humanist principles rather than the superiority principle of faith. That atheists have no reasons to hate jews and that anti-semitism in catholicism was entirely driven by faith.

For his argument to work, Hitler must not be a christian. The world improves by admitting mistakes and changing, not by denial. Denial of Hitler’s origins insults the very act of the holocaust because it changes the reason and fobs off blame onto others who don’t deserve it. Ray Comfort cannot wrap his minds about an evil christian because only muslims, jews, hindus and other religions have arseholes in them. Basically Comfort lies through his lying fucking teeth about the very origins of Hitler and the society that produced such hatred and the role of his own faith in that. For his next trick the effects of the inquisition in South America would be healthcare related and the Spanish Inquisition was more like the Spanish Casual Chat

And lest we forget racism against jews was common in the USA as well with many places outright banning them from entering, consider that the USA spent all it’s time hating on black people at the time often using the bible to defend their racism. It’s not a lone incident in christian history. The atrocities of the USA in the Philippines are rarely mentioned. Because the USA needs to look like heroes and heroes don’t kill a million people for their own greed. Oh it’s okay, they weren’t white and no one cared at the time.

It is then he begins his hypothetical games. These are sick for reasons I have gone into before and because it forgets the role of his faith in this. If you asked a soldier whether he valued human life, he probably would say yes despite his job being to kill other humans. He probably knows the real value of human life, of pain and suffering that has no quantity should the life be lost.

And to compare the holocaust to abortion? The death of actual humans versus undeveloped cells?

There are two responses to this. One is my own “The Nazis Did It” and point out that Hitler was a Pro-Lifer banning abortion and punishing it with the death penalty for “human beings” (bear in mind only aryans were considered human).

And the  second is to point out that roughly 50% of all pregnancies end in spontaneous abortion. As in the body rejects or the egg doesn’t implant properly. The biggest abortionist on the planet according to Ray Comfort’s logic is his own God.

These are far less insulting than to denigrate the actual murder of people with the idea that somehow potential means something from the arbitrary line of conception rather than the period of 24 to 26 weeks which is the cut off due to the viability of the foetus during this period.

It’s simple, Ray wants to reduce the rights of women across the world by spreading misinformation and lies about abortion. He has no idea what goes on and simply wishes for people to live in a biblical world where it’s okay to keep women as glorified pets you can fuck rather than as equals. This is just one of those ways of reducing the rights of women and it’s a stupid way of doing so.

And I really bloody hate hypothetical games. 

9 out of 10 cats are secretly aliens!

As they say, there are lies, damned lies and statistics, and here we see all three in action.

This post attempts to depict christians as some sort of minority, that somehow while 5% of americans identify as atheist their numbers are much much larger.

It complains about atheists as if we are some sort of plague. The sheer indignation in the tone of the article about atheists doing the same thing as christians is evident throughout as is the surprise that you can have an atheist summer camp. (Surely that means a secular summer camp or indeed a plain old normal summer camp right? I mean atheists don’t have any religious texts and maybe I would want my kids to go to a bit of a sciencey themed camp because I like science and I hope my kids can see my love of the subject too.)

The christian message is still loud and clear, the day you should be worried is the day one of your politicians stands up and claims he is a creationist and is soundly ridiculed for being an anti-science luddite rather than applauded for his ignorance.

The article then proceeds into giving advice about living in christ as if the difference between a good atheist and a good christian is something magical. A good person is one who does the right thing, not one who believes the hardest. To quote Gandhi, “You must be the change that you wish to see in the world”, and it’s something that atheists and those who believe in a god must understand. That to be good you have to be good, and no ancient book can tell you how to be that.

A lot of christians feel they are under threat because their core beliefs are being challenged. That is not true, we merely are fighting bigotry, it just happens that some of christianity’s core beliefs come under that moniker. Would you find the islamic burkha acceptable or something to fight? That is prejudice against women. The hindu cast system? Prejudice against the low castes. The christian attitude towards gays? Prejudice. All these are fought not because we are anti-faith (We don’t care about what you believe as long as you keep it in your own private area and out of public life) but because we are anti-bigotry.

Moreover, nine out of 10 Americans believe that there is no God and one fifth of the American population is more or less atheistic, according to the most recent Harris poll. 

Another survey on atheism in America, conducted by the Pew Forum of Religious and Public Life, showed major changes in the religious make up of America.  
More than one-quarter of American adults have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion, or no religion at all, the Pew Landscape Survey released this week found.

Note how laughably bad the stats are. 9/10 americans believe in no god but 1/5 are atheist?

Being atheist means you don’t believe in any god so if 90% of americans don’t then 90% are atheist. The truth is roughly 15% of america are atheist/agnostic which works out at around 1/6 people.

Either the author has no grasp of statistics or is plain lying about it, but then comes up with various faulty reasons why people become atheists.

However, as discussions of widespread turmoil, increasingly turbulent weather events and wars increase, so do the number of Americans who say they believe Christ’s reappearance is close at hand. A poll conducted last year by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that 41 percent of Americans expected Jesus would return before 2040.

Oh my! More bad stats, if 90% of america don’t believe in a god then how the hell does 40% believe that Jesus will return?

This is faulty, the weather is not related to any gods. This we proved when we found out that churches are more likely to be hit by lightning (Hey if you have a tall building while everyone around you doesn’t then you get hit by lightning). The day science defeated god was not the day Darwin wrote the Origin of Species but the day churches put lightning conductors on their steeples.

If anything this proves that atheism is not on the rise because if you said that you were scare of weather because of a god then I would call you a backwards hick and encourage you to read about weather rather than believe it is created by a magical entity.

Christians have stepped up to defend the faith in high-profile ways. As the non-believing community began to widen its reach in America in 2007, Pope Benedict XVI strongly criticized modern-day atheism in a major document in hopes of drawing attention to its evils. 

“A world which has to create its own justice is a world without hope,” he wrote in the letter. In his second encyclical, Benedict also critically questioned modern Christianity, saying its focus on individual salvation had ignored Jesus’ message that true Christian hope involves salvation for all.

Perhaps the pope should clean out his own faith’s issues before he pokes into the lack of faith of atheists. The systemic abuse of children and the lack of sexual education has caused unimaginable suffering the world over. The world is not fair, it’s why Pope Benedict basically has a comfortable job which may not pay well but has all the perks of a comfortable lifestyle while large numbers of people in Africa have to make do with no clean drinking water and a life fraught from the dangers of HIV.

It really is not fair, justice is a human concept. It is humanity that balances the scales. There is justice for the pope because he is rich and famous. There wasn’t any for those children his priests molested. And that may have been in part due to his interference in the matter. 

The pope is also walking on dangerous ground here. Salvation for all in Catholicism means conversion. And conversion historically was often done at the business end of a weapon.

A final word from Billy Graham ends the piece.

“Many atheists, I find,
reject God for one reason: They want to run their own lives,” Graham said in a popular sermon on atheism. “Atheism says we are here by chance, and life has no meaning or destiny. Taken to its conclusion, atheism ends in despair.”

We rejected our gods, not god. We rejected all the gods, be it Zeus or Shiva or Jesus and Jehovah. It’s rather arrogant to assume that Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and all the other religious world views don’t have atheists. There are plenty of us out there, it’s just that we don’t really have a big voice unlike Dawkins or Myers or Hitchens.

We reject these gods not because we want to run our own lives, but because they are not real. In the same way Graham rejects Shiva and Bal Thackeray rejects Jesus, I reject both these men’s gods on the basis of none of them are real. These beings never really ran my life, I did, I just pretended to follow rules blindly just like everyone else without really thinking who made the rules and why the rules were so stupid.

We aren’t here by chance, we are here because of evolution. You the reader is specifically here because of the efforts of the people that raised you and you are formed by their actions. You are not here by chance nor by the actions of magic, you are here because of the actions of your parents. Of sweat, blood and tears of your ancestors. Not because of some mythical being, give credit where it’s due.

Life has meaning, the meaning we give to life is entirely up to us. For me life is good friends, enjoying good food, conversation, love, reading books and having a job that makes me feel happy. Life is entirely what you make of it, and I am blessed with the ability to one day have a comfortable life where I can achieve the things that make me happy. Life is really that simple. To basically try and leave the world a little bit better than when you arrived on it.

Atheism isn’t despair, it is bravery. It is intelligence over ignorance, it is reality over fantasy. It is the honest answer, to stand up and say “I don’t know what’s out there, but I am kind of sure it’s not a magical being who tells you what clothes to wear and doesn’t like you eating beef or working on one specific day of the week”.

I maybe atheist but at least I am good at statistics.

Hypothetical Games

A friend and me once read a book by Yann Martell called Beatrice and Virgil. We both looked forward to it since Yann stated that his influences were Art Spiegel’s Maus which is one of my favourite graphic novels ever and one I encourage people to read.

But we didn’t like it, mainly because of the heavy holocaust allegory which portrayed humans as basically evil for wishing to live. It ended in a series of games which ask hypothetical questions like whether you could kill a child if your life depended on it. Of scenarios that occurred during the holocaust where under duress humans behaved in ways that speak badly of humanity (of particular ire is the scenario given where children were trampled by adults trying to rise up above the gas in the gas chambers). For me it struck an uneasy tone, of implying humans are basically evil inside. For me it ignored the various people like Schindler who tried to save as many people as possible. And all the various people who risked life and limb to save people from the Holocaust.

She didn’t like it because she was a Belarusian Canadian of jewish origin and to her this was a cheap attempt to get some shocks in by co-opting the holocaust to sell. It would be like writing a purposefully shocking book about 9/11 to get people to read it in her mind.

I found the games faulty, no man can ask such a yes or no question. Because of the nature of such events, hypothetically we would all lift the children above our heads rather than die trying to stand on them. But thinking about it could we kill the children ourselves in a more humane way to prevent them from suffering? Could we attempt to fight back?

Ultimately we don’t know, we aren’t in that situation. We are all capable of amazing heroism, its just a case of whether we can act when the time comes. And Yann forgets that. That the man who runs away from the enemy and the man who runs towards them aren’t all that different, both are probably just as scared of the situation. A hero to me is merely one who does his job and duty when no one else was willing to. And anyone can be that person, I hope that if a situation like that arises I won’t freeze or run but will do the right thing.

Ray Comfort has not understood this reality. He thinks that hypothetical situations are sensible thing. I say that they are about as useful as asking “Who would Win? Batman or Superman?”

It’s 1943. A German officer has a gun pointed at you. He wants you to get into a bulldozer and drive it forward. In front of the bulldozer is a pit in which there are 300 Jews who have just been shot. Some of them are still alive. He wants you to bury them alive! If you don’t do what he says, he is going to kill you and do it himself. If you do what he says, he will let you live. Would you drive it forward?

Yes you would. You cannot save them. No one can. If you refuse you will join them. You basically are stuck between doing this horrid deed then subverting the system to save people from this fate or being a dumbass and making a statement that gets you shot. The world is not absolutes Ray. I would hope that I would have the common sense to comply with this order and the compassion to go inform the other Jews of what’s happening and help them avoid this by getting those who are about to be killed to volunteer for factory work (one of the ways Schindler saved people). I would have tried to make a difference. A lot of germans did make differences in small ways like this because that’s what they could do. Should I ever be in that situation I would wish that I could do the right thing and try and save as many lives as possible rather than throw mine away in a pointless gesture. And if saving those lives means that I have to be the one that buries them alive then so be it. I hope that situation never arises, but if it does I hope that I have the courage to take that burden on myself.

It’s easy to be Big Damn Heroes in theory but in practice it’s a lot harder. Especially when one’s not just pointing a gun at your head but when you have no real choice but to commit an atrocity. This specific scenario is one of those “no choice situations”.

Yes, Ray seems sickened that I could bury someone alive, but the qualifier is not mentioned or emphasised. And worse he states that he doesn’t care if you said you would not drive forwards because he doubts your resolve.

From this Ray supposedly seemlessly moves onto Abortion (I will be reviewing his movie later this week) as if murdering Jews is the same as a bunch  of cells. He preys on people’s ignorance, portraying all abortions as  late term ones rather than ones that are done fairly early on. The vast majority of abortions are in the first few weeks of conception where the foetus looks like a bunch of cells. Most people in the west are hopefully well educated enough to understand the signs of pregnancy and most terminations occur at 5th to the 8th week of conception. Nearly 75% infact. A further 20% by the 12th week and then it actually dies down a lot with it rising around the 20th to 22nd week (it coincides with the age where you can detect a lot of congenital anomalies).

It’s shameless, it links the suffering of a group of real people to the death of potential. Those cells aren’t a person yet, they are a potential person. If removed from the body they would die, at this point they are nothing more than a developing bunch of cells, incapable of survival. They aren’t yet a person in the sane definition of the word.

Basically Ray wages a war on women under the hypothetical game and using the fear of being classed as a Nazi.

But never fear, two can play at Ray’s silly games..

Nazi Mother’s Cross

The Nazis gave this medal out to mothers who had more than eight children. The nazis also banned abortion and were suitably pro-life about it in their own little way. Anyone caught giving an abortion to an Aryan Woman would be sentenced to death. (1943).

Remember the Nazis were christian and they were pro-lifers just like a certain Mr. Comfort. It’s also a good lesson on why hypothetical games are pointless in determining what people would really do in a no win situation. It’s also an object lesson in doing your research particularly if you are trying to compare your opponents to nazis.

(edit – I watched the movie. It’s basically this rehashed with the problem that he probably has had to mine for stupid people. There are far too many people in the USA who have family members who fought in the second world war to not know who Hitler
is… I am sure if  I went around Australia I could find some people like that too. And asking Neo Nazis what they think about Hitler is like asking cats what they think about tuna.)