Mums and Dads

Language is a weapon. It is as deadly a weapon in the game of survival as a spear or an arrow. Language helps preserve knowledge and helps communicate. It turns relatively squishy apes (compared to say… a Bear or a Mammoth) into a team. It’s one of the most important parts of human development. [Read more…]

Bangladeshi Democracy

While at work today I had the distinct pleasure of a short conversation with someone who believed that Atheists (and Communists!!!) were responsible for stirring up unnecessary trouble in Bangladesh.

And this lead me to an important question.

Does Bangladesh remember their own History? Do the people trying to reduce the secularism withing their country and follow in the footsteps of Pakistan remember why they won their freedom?

Pakistan at one point consisted of East and West Pakistan. Now the issue was that East Pakistan had little political power and was pretty much dominated by Western Pakistan. Pakistan was ruled by a dictator called General Zhia and the good General was an ally of the USA due to the Pakistani involvement in the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan. Under this yoke the Bangladeshi people  rebelled and paid a pretty horrific cost. Some estimates place the death toll of that conflict in the 1 to 2 million range. The massacres were of the middle class and intellectual class. Many families escaping from East Pakistan spoke of soldiers killing people with glasses. It was a distinct plan to destroy any middle class there so as to destroy any intellectual disagreement with Zhia’s rule.

India proceeded to arm and equip refugees who wished to fight for Bangladesh and helped liberate Bangladesh while simultaneously fighting off Pakistan in the Kashmir and Punjab. The end result was a liberated Bangladesh. (If you want to hear what the USA did during this time you would be terribly shocked if you aren’t American. The Americans kept selling arms to Zhia and kept supporting him. It was so shocking that the american diplomat to Pakistan wrote a letter of dissent. The infamous “Blood Telegram“. When Bangladesh won it’s freedom it made steps forward but ultimately fell into the same problem that any theocracy has.

You see, many people wish for an Islamic Democracy because they consider themselves “good Muslims”. But they forget that they are “only good” Muslims because they think so and because they are liberals. Why would they be affected by such laws? Here’s the thing.

A secular system means you can live together and be Muslim or Hindu or Atheist. It means you are free to worship what you wish. It means that your country isn’t basing it’s laws on a religious and therefore inflexible text.

When you try to base your entire nation’s function on a religious text then the people most fit to lead are fundies because they adhere to said texts the closest. Which is why Pakistan is struggling to not tear itself to pieces. Which is why Iran, Saudi and Yemen are led by fairly fundie governments. Which is why the other nations deeply struggle to maintain a liberal society and are regularly beset by fundies.

If you keep Bangladesh as a Muslim Nation you will eventually be a dictatorship or a theocracy again. You will eventually lose the ability to play on Twitter or Facebook or even complain. Hell, if you are particularly unlucky you may even end up like Pakistan. Torn by violence between moderates and extremists. I

Hags of Lag – Learn to Report Honestly

The Hollywood Reporter’s taken an “interesting” stance on Adam Lanza (the American School Shooter at Sandy Hook)

Note how they blame Videogames (I will point out? There is a reason why we want our gamer population to behave a bit more “sensibly”. Because calling people fags and various racist things makes us an easy fucking target for stupid arguments like this. Because when they want to go find a “gamer” all they see is you sprouting lines about niggers and kikes, pakis and dykes… Do you really think that makes you a good representative for the Hobby?).

See the problem here is The Holywood Reporter is engaging in bullshit journalism. And you cannot let it go unanswered because journalism spreads information. If the information is bad then “fuck!”.

Adam Lanza played video games because he lived in a western nation where video game play is common. If he was “influenced” by Anders Breivik killed people because he was a neo-nazi with a fucking delusion. He was straight up mentally ill. He believed in some sort of plot and specifically targetted people to “destroy” the plot. His entire world view was one of hate and malice and fear. In his mind he was justified in killing so many innocent people because that’s the problem with a delusion. He wasn’t fighting for a high score, but to achieve something that he thought would be achieved through this behaviour.

Adam Lanza is a symptom of a very very american disease of “running amok”. I do love the fact the article thinks you can fire a gun just because you play a game. Really? I have raced cars around Silverstone on Gran Turismo but no one’s going to give me a F1 during the next Grand Prix.

That’s right. Let’s look at DRIVING in games. Does your car have a WASD key? Does it go forward when you press up on the arrow keys? Do you slide around when you press the spacebar as a handbrake? No? Funny how a game can teach you to shoot a gun at people but not how to drive.

The Staff at Hollywood Reporter

Ten Suggestions – What I Aspire To Be

Alain de Botton’s ten Virtues have raised an important point. See, I think the notion of a rigid virtue system is pointless because it creates a rigid notion of what makes a person “good” and when we know that’s not the case. You may have all these “virtues” but still be bad for the world. Having these so called virtues may not make you a force for good.

Let’s take the Taliban. Do you think that the Taliban don’t smile? They don’t love their kids? They don’t joke with each other? Do you think that they are cowards?

They are human just like us and many have these virtues. Yet it is their actions that decide whether they are virtuous or not (to borrow a phrase). [Read more…]

Age of Kali – Bangladesh – A Sad Story

Taslima Nasrin wrote about the murder of a Bangladeshi blogger. In January I wrote about the attempted murder of another. Their crime was to be an atheist.

It’s NSFW or NSFL (Gore and Death Imagery) but it is a fact of life for people living in the Sub-Continent.

If you really want to see what Taslima has to face down, if you want to see her real detractors then I suggest you read the comments. There is no more damning piece of evidence about the damage that blind faith can do to you.

The comments are also NSFW/L.

Ten Suggestions

Apparently it’s not enough to be a virtuous atheist.

I don’t understand why Christians seem to think “Hope” is solely a “Christian” Value. Hindus have hope too you know. Muslims have hope too. So do Jews. And Atheists and pretty much everyone who is “human”.

Claiming hope as divine isn’t clever, hope just means you have faith that things can “get better”. You don’t require a god to feel that.

Alain de Botton’s “virtues” are silly. Why limit yourself to just ten? If you don’t have one are you not a good atheist? I know people who have had bone marrow biopsies without anaesthetic (it’s dreadfully painful) and they just gritted their teeth. Am I to expect all patients to do so? I know what I gave up. Most of my peers are out on weekends dancing, drinking and having fun. I am not. The little luxuries my readers have? I do not. I cannot demand that you be like me.

You can suggest things though. You can make your own “goals” in life rather than follow the Ten Commandments or even Alain’s “Ten Virtues”. It doesn’t have to be ten, it doesn’t have to be codified, it isn’t set in stone.

That’s the problem with “virtues”, they aren’t always good. The world isn’t good and bad. The world is not black and white. Often you are stuck making decisions where there is no right or wrong option and where there is no answer that is good. There are sometimes decisions we have to make in life where every choice is bad and we desperately try to chose the least worst one or the one that we can live with.

And what is a good decision today may not be in the future. That’s the thing that befuddles most of our detractors. That we CAN have this kind of morality and that we can grow from our experiences with these situations.

I cannot tell you what you should value, you may value something different to me. And that’s where Alain de Botton fails.

Don’t take what he suggests as virtues. Take them as pointed suggestions.


Apparently Warsi Failed to Get the Memo

You don’t need a god to be good. We know this, but no one’s told Baroness Warsi that.

The problem here is what we define by “practise their faith”. No one has stopped any religious people from doing whatever it is they want to do UNLESS the practise of their faith was against the law. In some cases such as in the case of Islam, large concessions have been made which many of us disagree with such as the existence of Sharia courts.

This is an issue I have spoken about repeatedly.

You are a role model for society. Yes, you can behave like a dumbass if you want to. But there is a time and a place for that. When the chips are down you can do good and be visible doing good. That doesn’t mean do what I do (Remember! If you have the skills then do it, if you don’t then we have to waste time and resources picking up after you),

Militant Secularisation is anathema to Lady Warsi and indeed the Pope and the Vatican. Of course it is! Warsi is a Muslim. Not one of the scary lunatics who run around bashing gays or enforcing “Sharia Law” in the UK but one of the nice friendly ones. Who forgets that the nasty ones use people like her as a human shield.

Again she is proposing Christianity play a bigger role in public life during her delegation to the Vatican. For a political party infamous for being rich toffs often from Eton and other fancy schools their grasp of English History is Awfully Poor.

The United Kingdom Sucked Under Christianity. For the Love of Fuck, We watched Northern Ireland tear itself apart over who liked Green and who liked Orange! Protestants vs. Anglicans vs. Catholics and a big fuck off mess! No! Religion can fucking drown for all I care, the UK’s greatest strength was seeing that fucking mess and going “You Know What? I Am Not Going To Do That Again”. And going and saying “You Know the UK is Planning To Be A lot Less Secular” to the Pope is just daft. If the Pope wishes to dictate British Policy then let him run for power, we don’t vote for the Roman Catholic Church, we don’t wish to give him any influence on our society.

And so how are we getting religion snuck in? As usual due to government cuts, society is a bit “short” (Apparently Big Society = The Government pulling the Rug from under social service budgets while making whooping noises and scuttling away leaving “Free Labour” to pick up the pieces). Religious groups have “stepped in” instead.

So what can we do?

Well aren’t we the forces of secularism? Isn’t our justice a big ugly stick of functional truth? Get off your arses and beat them at their own game.

“I understand he will now go into retreat but he has left us with a wealth of important scholarly teachings and a diplomatic legacy upon which we can only build.” – Warsi on Pope Benedict

Otherwise we have to deal with individuals such as this. For the love of all fuck! Benedict blamed Atheists for Nazi Germany, Routinely Claimed the Condoms SPREAD STDs, Fought against birth control policies in India, Africa and indeed the Philippines and to put the icing on the on the cake was in charge of the same Roman Catholic church that was complicit in horrific abuses of children many of the abusers who are STILL protected by his organisation with the Church interfering with investigations on purpose. He

He spoke out against Gay Marriage and had ties with Uganda where people are planning to run bills that codify and promote homophobia. We legalised gay marriage just a short while ago. This is a dinosaur and not in the cool way. In the “should be extinct” way. Let him go, let us stop giving the Pope his value so that the Catholic Church’s power is reduced. This man has NOTHING to do with a modern secular Britain.

One of his final acts was to condemn Ireland’s plans to make abortion legal after the death of Savitha. This man is not a role model for ANY human being let alone a religion.

And if we don’t get off our arses and do things visibly where we can as Atheists and indeed Secularists then we will be stuck with politicians who listen to people whose only qualification is that they believe in Jehovah the mostest.

Do Some Good. You Are Representative Of All Of Us. Be someone we can point to and say “We Do It Too And We Do It Better”.