Obama on religion

Whatever else he may be — and however much he’s been chastised for being too centrist and too slow in tearing apart the remnants of Bush and Cheney’s near dictatorial regime — he is 100% correct here. I’m sure someone will post suggesting that this makes him evil or something. I’d say he’s pragmatic about religion, and believes in separation of church and state — and thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for that!

Hat tip to The Good Atheist.

Chemical imbalance supercedes God’s Love

One of the arguments our favorite Creationists troll par excellence Zdenny has made in recent weeks is that God’s love is perfect, and if you believe in God (and are a True Scotsman), then even a chemical imbalance in your brain will keep you from doing horrible things to your friends, family and children.

So why did this religious woman who was afflicted with post-partum depression kill, dismember and eat the brains and several body parts of her 3 1/2 month old baby? Because Satan told her to.

The scene was so gruesome investigators could barely speak: A 3 1/2-week-old boy lay dismembered in the bedroom of a single-story house, three of his tiny toes chewed off, his face torn away, his head severed and his brains ripped out.

Officers called to the home early Sunday found the boy’s mother, Otty Sanchez, sitting on the couch with a self-inflicted wound to her chest and her throat partially slashed, screaming “I killed my baby! I killed my baby!” police said. She told officers the devil made her do it, police said.

Let me make this perfectly clear. Being religious did not directly lead to Sanchez’s psychotic break. She was suffering from post-partum depression and had been in psych wards several times recently, coupled with the fact that her baby’s father had moved out just a week prior. The problem here is not that religion leads to psychosis. The problem is that religion teaches you that supernatural omnipotent beings like God or Satan exist, and that they talk to people in the Bible and impel them to do things.

When you start to hear voices in your head commanding you to do things nowadays, it is known that you are suffering from some kind of chemical imbalance and that certain medical treatments are available to fix them. However, if you are brought up to believe that these voices are possibly commands from some deity or another, you might just do what they tell you to do, or try to maim or kill someone that you think is being influenced by some demon.

The other two examples given in this article are illustrative of this:

Andrea Yates drowned her five children in her Houston-area home 2001, saying she believed Satan was inside her and trying to save them from hell. Her attorneys said she had been suffering from severe postpartum psychosis, and a jury found Yates not guilty by reason of insanity in 2006.

In 2004, Dena Schlosser killed her 10-month-old in her Plano home by slicing off the baby’s arms. She was found not guilty of reason by insanity, after testifying that she killed the baby because she wanted to give her to God.

I’d like to think rationalists like myself, who believe in evidence and proof and do not believe in supernatural deities, who understand that our mental state is concomitant with the neurochemical processes that happen within our brains, would seek help immediately if we start hearing voices. I can’t say for sure that I actually WOULD — I mean, my brain chemistry will have been compromised in such a situation — but I certainly hope that I’d be cogent enough to recognize the signs and seek medical help before I hurt someone. I mean, what’s the likelihood that “probably no god” will start speaking to us?

Hat tip to Friendly Atheist.

Sarah Palin’s farewell speech, as read by William Shatner

Well this sure explains a hell of a lot. Sarah Palin’s farewell speech was actually a beat poem; artistic! THAT’S why it made no fucking sense whatsoever!! They’re not supposed to!

Hat tip John Cole at Balloon Juice.

Looks like CBS’s getting uppity about *how* you watch this video, regardless of whether or not they’re the ones paying for the bandwidth. So, here’s the direct link to the Tonight Show. I mean, geez, it’s not like we’d think Conan was Jay Leno or some crap.

A war on many fronts

I’m promoting my own comments elsewhere in conversation with Zdenny to a post proper, because they are large enough and have enough links as to merit their own post. The main reason I promote this line of argumentation is that the fronts on which we battle are so varied and diverse as to cover a hell of a lot more ground than the original post, which was a mere Youtube video. That earlier post is here. I will also take snippets from the original comment thread, wherein I feel Zdenny has either conceded the point or has neglected to sufficiently respond. I will also attempt to sort them by topic.

I congratulate you, Zdenny. You’re putting forth a decent effort. However, you’re not answering all my charges, and this usually implies to an outside observer that the points that are missed, are either too strong to directly attack, or are being conceded. In the event that I miss any of yours, please do not misconstrue me as conceding the point unless I outright say so.

Additionally, you need to learn to provide supporting evidence of your positive claims, even if it’s just a link to a website that you got the argument from. These criticisms only come from a desire to shape you into someone worth debating against, because otherwise the repetitive nature of your arguments gets on peoples’ nerves.

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122nd Carnival of the Godless is up

CyberLizard has posted his compilation of the best submissions sent to him for the 122nd edition of his blog carnival, the Carnival of the Godless. There’s some really choice reading material to be found here, so go check it out immediately.

Yes, even my readers who consider yourseves theists. It is better that you understand our ACTUAL point of view so you can argue what we really believe, rather than what you think we believe.

Random Crap That’s In My Tabs

Today I will launch a semi-regular (by which I mean a whenever-I-feel-like-it) feature, wherein I itemize a bunch of stuff that’s in the various tabs in my Firefox. I have this habit, you see, of keeping certain tabs open over a number of sessions, either because I want to eventually blog about them, or because I’m not done reading them and keep getting sidetracked on other sites. This might include blog posts with ongoing discussions, as well. Consider it a catch-all kind of post. As such, it’ll go under Current Events just because there’s usually going to be a news piece or two.

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MS’ duplicitous “olive branch” to Linux is aimed at the backs of our collective skulls

Recently, Microsoft got a good deal of press for having open-sourced its Hyper-V drivers for Linux, releasing them under the GPL v2 even. To anyone paying attention to Microsoft’s earlier rhetoric about the GPL being “un-american“, this is surprising news. To those of us who know what’s actually going on underneath the finely crafted patina of a sudden change of heart, this move is every bit as cynical as every other Microsoft has ever taken.

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