Reply to Stephen Feinstein, round three

This post is part of an ongoing discussion between Russell Glasser and Pastor Stephen Feinstein. Here are all the previous posts in the series.

As before, I’ll be disabling comments in this post, as it is supposed to be a conversation only between the two of us.


Stephen,

I hope you’ll excuse the amount of time it took to complete this post; your last post was about twice as long as the one before it.  Also, you appear to be getting frustrated by the conversation, and I think I’ve identified a significant source of miscommunication between us. It seems to me that your continued efforts to prove God are based on a serious double standard, and in this post I intend to point out where this lies.

Before I get to that though, I’d like to invoke a rule that we discussed before we started.  Since I don’t intend to continue this conversation indefinitely, I propose that we wrap it up after a total of five rounds.  That means after this, you and I will each write two more posts, with the last ones being dedicated to closing statements.  Is that acceptable to you?  I could see reducing it to one more, or extending it to three, but I really don’t want to go much longer than that, so it’s your call from there.

With that bit of bookkeeping out of the way, I’ll begin.

[Read more…]

Is Dennis Markuze already violating the terms of his suspended sentence?

As some of you might recall, Dennis Markuze, the Montreal troll who spent literally years and years sending increasingly unhinged and violent rants and death threats to atheists online (usually under the nym David Mabus), was finally arrested. Pleading guilty, his behavior was put down to drug and alcohol abuse and he received a suspended 18-month sentence, part of the terms of which were that he was to “abstain participating in a social network, blog and discussion forum.” This was just under two months ago.

Last night, this comment popped up on the AXP Facebook page.

The link leads to a forum post containing one of Markuze’s trademark rants, posted there in 2010. “THE BOOBQUAKE – 911″ was a subject line used by Markuze frequently in the last barrage of emails he sent prior to his arrest. Ditto the YouTube link, which goes to the usual JREF/atheist/skeptic bashing lunacy he’d post there as well. The Facebook account “Ftbullies Ftbullies” was created just before midnight last night.

So while this isn’t slam dunk proof Markuze himself posted the comment, common sense makes me ask, who else would have any reason to link to Markuze’s ravings, and why? So I’m making this public, and as I don’t know who exactly to contact with the Montreal authorities so they can look into it more (I would imagine that as part of his suspended sentence, they’d have the right to seize his computer and do a little forensic work on it any time they chose), maybe someone reading this who does know that information can pass it along.


Busted. Markuze just tried posting two comments to this thread. One came from IP address 174.142.32.173, which resolves to Montreal. The second, 74.198.165.48, is also Canadian. I’ve grabbed screenshots of both in the moderation queue, and am forwarding them on. That’s it for old Dennis.

Insert “Better love story than Twilight” joke here

You know, sometimes I almost feel cruel. But yes, kids, this…

…is a real book, by one Ernest Angley, an Ohio evangelist. Its story, apparently, “reveals the overwhelming fear, torment, death and unimaginable destruction that will take place on Earth after the Rapture. This gripping story is based on 100% Bible truth, and the end times have never before been written about in such shocking reality…”

“Shocking reality” is not, I must honestly confess, the phrase that’s evoked by that cover. We have aggro, laser-eyed WWF Jesus — wearing Elvis pants, and either a crown or a golden skullcap that’s straining to contain his exploding brain — astride a Riverdancing horse who’s got to be voiced by Eddie Murphy. Also, I think Jesus is meant to be holding the horse’s reins, but the artist either forgot to include those or his PC crashed after adding his 103rd Photoshop layer. So it looks more like Jesus is about to left-hook Horsey for a particularly lame wisecrack. “Dayum, Boss! Dat hurt!”

In short, THIS IS THE FECKING AWESOMEST SHIT EVER, and if I didn’t think my own brain would go on strike and possibly divorce me for cruel and unusual punishment, I’d read it yesterday!

The Non-Prophets FAQ, July 2012

Q: “The Non-Prophets”?  What is that?

A: The Non-Prophets is a live internet show that is broadcast regularly in addition to the Atheist Experience TV shows.  It is not a call-in show, so we tend to focus on news and philosophical discussions instead of debunking Pascal’s Wager over and over again.  The current hosts are Matt Dillahunty, Denis Loubet, and Russell Glasser

Q: There have been no updates to the podcast since May.  Or am I crazy?

A: You are not crazy, there have been no updates to the podcast since May.

Q: Did you guys quit?

A: Nope, we’ve done four new episodes since June.

Q: But I thought you said the podcast wasn’t updated?

A: Correct.  We’ve started doing the shows as live Google Hangouts, which means they are now available as YouTube videos.  You can see them all on Matt’s YouTube channel, sansdeity.  Individual episode links: 11.6 11.7 11.8 11.9

Q: But I really like listening to it as a podcast.  Are you planning to put the audio versions on the podcast feed?

A: Yeah.  Eventually.  When we get around to it.  Thanks for your concern.

Q: Can I still listen and participate live when it’s on?

A: Currently the show is scheduled to be on every Tuesday at 7:30 PM CST.  However, since this is The Non-Prophets we’re talking about, it’s subject to not happening at all for totally random reasons.  Go to the sansdeity YouTube link listed above at the appropriate time, and hit refresh a few times when the time is approaching.  If it’s on, there will be a live video at the top of the feed which you can watch.  You can still participate in the IRC that takes place at irc://irc.wikkedwire.com:6667/nonprophets.

Q: Any other ways I can be alerted about whether a show will happen?

A: If you’re Facebook friends with Matt or Russell, we’ll usually announce it on our feed.  You can also keep an eye on the Atheist Experience page for announcements, and we’ll try to mention in IRC when the show’s about to start.

Q: Did you know that the Non-Prophets website is incredibly ugly, and does not contain the information above?

A: Yes, we did know that.

Q: Any plans to improve it?

A: At some point.

Q: Can I be your webmaster so I can get it done for you?

A: Thanks for asking, but no.

Q: I’m desperate for more audio podcasts, and you guys are slackers!  What can we listen to so our lives will have meaning?

A: You should listen to Godless Bitches, which does shows much more regularly and is freaking awesome.

[Update]

Q: So, Tuesdays, huh?  Will there be a show tonight?

A: Heck yeah, there will!  Don’t miss it!

AE 771 Open Thread

Godparents, abiogenesis, resurrection, redefining words, and outing ourselves to political leaders. Have at it!

Reminder – no show next week! We don’t get the studio on a fifth Sunday of the month.

How quickly can we expect to see religious/political exploitation of last night’s Batman shooting?

How about already?

(And, in case you hadn’t heard the news yet, well, this happened.)

Louie Gohmert — shamefully, but not surprisingly, from our state — has helpfully opined that all of it happened because the country just isn’t Christian enough.

It’s pretty much the same thing we heard from Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell after 9/11: there are too many people out there who aren’t like us, and that pisses off God, and so he’s decided to lift his hand of protection from our society. Because he’s just as petty a shit as his followers are.

Oh, and of course, the shooting could easily have been brought to a quick end if there had been some heroic, armed, and doubtless Republican moviegoer in the audience to take the shooter out. Because when you’re in a huge darkened auditorium full of hundreds of screaming and panicked people, with extremely loud surround sound systems blaring, there’s no worry that some random citizen pulling his own gun would have done anything but draw a perfect bead on the assailant and bring him down with a single shot, and no concern at all that his own wild firing would have just wounded or even killed more innocents into the bargain.

Would you like to let Louie Gohmert know how impressed you are with his opinions? I thought some of you might.

His site only accepts emails from people in his district, so enter anything from 75601-75608.


Addendum from the “Fair and Balanced” Dept.: On the heels of the blathering blame-assigning from the like of Gohmert, Fischer, and Warren, we now, I am sad to say, have an example of an atheist doing much the same thing.

Just let me put this small fish in your ear…

Every day we get several emails that are just friendly fan letters, saying hey, great job, you guys rock, love your show, and all that. Some of them are even from people who want neither to marry nor bang us. And though we don’t respond to each one, take it as a given that we are grateful for them all. Our viewers kick ass.

Tonight we got just such a nice email from a young man in Brazil, and while it was on the whole a very lovely letter, I fear that Google Translate might have lost something in the meaning of his signoff.

a big hug to all of the program like you all over Matt and out of the guy and fuck series :)

Uh. Thanks! We think.

A pretty low bar for “accomplishments,” I must say

So there’s this Christian kid from north Texas named Junior Garcia. Junior decided, as many Christians do, that the world is a vile, steaming cesspit of moral decay, and the best thing to do about that would be to go to Home Depot, buy some lumber, fashion it into a big cross, and drag it (on wheels, because it’s not like he’s doing this to suffer for our sins or anything) from Texas to Washington, D.C.

He should have gotten Apple’s new iCross instead, which has 4G.

You may wonder what he hoped to accomplish by this feat. I mean, it’s impressive, in the way that being the guy with the world record for hot dog eating is impressive. But in the end, I can’t think of anything to say about it other than it’s clearly a stunt for its own sake. I’m not sure what Junior expected when he made it to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Obama might have been too busy running the country and trolling Mitt Romney for the lulz to schedule a meeting. And it’s not as if everyone just stopped sinning at all once, everywhere, as if all humanity was, in a flash, transformed into pious, prayerful pod people.

“Gay people! Getting married! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE…”

Nor were any cancer patients miraculously healed, wars stopped, severed limbs regrown, abused children delivered from pain. The clouds did not part as in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, so that God could peer out and give this young man a divine fist-bump for a job well done. After all, as Eddie Izzard has pointed out, God had a prime opportunity to do that with the moon landing, and passed.

I’m being a bit facetious. I don’t, of course, really think even Junior expected any of that to happen. But he still must have thought that dragging a cross thousands of miles would have contributed positively, in some meaningful and direct way, to people’s lives and awaken them to America’s “moral decline,” whatever that is this week. Christians, naturally, are falling over themselves with praise for this inspiring young man and his impressive “accomplishment,” which, apparently, makes him a role model up to whom all young people should look. (Hah! You can’t catch me, grammar police!) Facebook, naturally, has brought the inanity in a big way. I have to say, whatever it is these people are so bowled over by is escaping me.

I have often wondered why people are so impressed by the shallowest expressions of what is supposedly a devoutly held belief, like little yellow magnets on the backs of their trucks to “support the troops,” as long as they don’t have to hear the names of the ones who died today on the news.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no doubt that this was physically an impressive feat.* But what material good does it do anyone? What is it other than a big act of religious showboating, allowing the young man to bask in the approval of his fellow churchgoers and other Christians who hear about him in the news? And why do so many Christians find it so impressive when you’d think they could, if nothing else, find a faith-based charity or something that’s actually doing things to have some positive impact (like this one I found at random) and heap their praise upon them?

I don’t mean to fall into any binary thinking here. I’m sure most of the people praising this young man would also have praise for real acts of charity, depending on just how much “poor people suck” messaging from right-wing media they’ve allowed themselves to absorb. There are so many ways a person could make a public statement about his beliefs that would positively impact the lives of others, and many many believers and atheists alike have done such things all down the years. But I guess this kind of public performance art — and not feeding the homeless or helping underprivileged kids with their educations, or spending years and years of study and research looking for scientific cures for the ills that plague us — is what gets your face in the media, eh?


* Or, not so much. Some readers have discovered that the cross weighed a mere 15 pounds, meaning Junior could have carried it in one hand while walking, and a good portion of the “walk” was done in a car. Now that’s inspirational!

Louis C.K., still pretty cool (probably)

Louis C.K. was on The Daily Show today.

Some people have been kinda pissed at Louis for an apparent Twitter blunder he made. It’s relevant because the subject of this tweet has been causing some discussion here at FTB, but a lot of people may not have heard about it, so I’ll try to catch you up.

[Read more…]