Should sexiness sell skepticism?

Sex sells. It’s practically axiomatic now — if you want to sell anything, sex it up. How do you do that? Well, obviously, in the advertisement world, by adding half-naked women, right? You know, since men — and heterosexual men only — are the only consumers worth targeting.

Except, NO, they’re not — heterosexual males make up at absolute best about 45% of the world’s population, which isn’t even a majority. So why the tacit approval, even (and especially) by certain feminists, of the current social norm wherein any “sexiness” brought into a conversation must de facto imply women slutting it up as sex objects? Why is it never about men bringing the sexy to the table? Why the gigantic backlash against the Skepchicks owning their sexuality and being sex-positive, as though they’re the only skeptics that have ever displayed any modicum of sex-positivity? Why the gigantic backlash against Boobquake, despite the surprisingly good data it yielded in disproving the Muslim cleric’s hypothesis that immodesty causes earthquakes?

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Recent developments in The War On Catholicism

I use the title facetiously. You know as well as I do that there is no war on Catholicism, but rather an outcry demanding that punishment be meted out for crimes we know were committed and a demand that the organization not be allowed to “punish” its members for their crimes, knowing that no real punishment or corrective action would ever be enacted.

Al Jazeera covers the secret vaults full of evidence of wrongdoing that the Catholic Church has protected for centuries, and the tantalizing peek that Jeff Anderson, one of the lawyers in the Milwaukee case against the Vatican, has had in response to discovery in his case.

Somehow, despite the existence of the Crimen Sollicitationis and its application by Cardinal Ratzinger well after the new canon law came into effect (as evidenced by the discovery in the aforementioned Milwaukee case), the Vatican continues to assert that the cases naming the Pope as a defendant have no merit. With the preponderance of evidence showing a great deal of merit, I’d strongly suggest the Vatican let the judges decide what has merit and what doesn’t.

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Lane Bryant’s Big Problem

A massive controversy has erupted recently when Fox and ABC both censored this commercial, and are refusing to play it during their 7-9pm primetime slot. ABC offered Lane Bryant a later time slot, during the last ten minutes of Dancing With the Stars, if they would only make some heavy edits. Meanwhile, Victoria’s Secret ads are on both networks during prime-time, despite showing more (while simultaneously less) skin. Gee, I wonder if there’s a reason for this huge double-standard? It must be a large reason, whatever it is, considering how glaringly obvious the injustice.

Hat tip to reader Miranda for pointing this one out.

Matt & Trey: “Not a meta-joke on our part”

So in my last post on the recent South Park / Islam scrape-up, I suggested that the moralistic closing speech was censored as a meta-joke, a “piling-on” by Matt Stone and Trey Parker in an effort to show how far religious censorship is willing to escalate a situation before it is satisfied. Turns out, I had more faith in the inherent humanity of the folks at Comedy Central than was merited.

Via their website:

In the 14 years we’ve been doing South Park we have never done a show that we couldn’t stand behind. We delivered our version of the show to Comedy Central and they made a determination to alter the episode. It wasn’t some meta-joke on our part. Comedy Central added the bleeps. In fact, Kyle’s customary final speech was about intimidation and fear. It didn’t mention Muhammad at all but it got bleeped too. We’ll be back next week with a whole new show about something completely different and we’ll see what happens to it.

That “whole new show” apparently included Bill Donahue of the Catholic League. Yeah, the same guy that said the Pope is being framed, and it’s not child molestation if the kids are at least 12. He didn’t have a speaking role.

I can’t help but figure the Bill Donahue walk-on role IS a meta-joke, to suggest to Comedy Central that their level of censorship over Muhammad could escalate if someone more local who subscribes to a delusion more in-line with the local flavor happens to get his nose bent over South Park. But I’m going to reserve judgment on that fact until I hear from one of them that it is indeed the case.

Earthquakes and boobs (the religious kind)

There’s nothing I like better than taking the pseudoscientific claims of a religious cleric and proving them to be wholly divorced from reality. I have a bad feeling about this particular effort, though. This one’s going to backfire, it’s only a question of how severely.

Don’t get me wrong. I like breasts (being a heteronormative male); I like women owning their sexuality; I like sex-positive feminism; and I don’t feel that women dressing immodestly objectifies them any more than, say, my wearing my new jeans objectifies me just because I apparently have an attractive ass in them. (Or at least so I’m told.) And I fully support this Boobquake effort, as well as any effort to make any dogmatist eat his words. My problem with this particular endeavour is entirely statistical.
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More random Formspring questions

Some more random Formspring questions I’ve gotten and answered. Please do ask me anything, either by contacting me directly or via the anonymous box on the left. Especially philosophical questions, I love those. Oh, and questions about controversial topics. I’ll give you a straight answer for just about anything, too. And if you earnestly want to learn about something you’re unfamiliar with, if I can help you learn it, I’ll do my best.

Can you truly love someone but find it hard to live with him/her?
I don’t see why not. Love is familiarity, and familiarity breeds contempt. How many relationships have you heard of, where over time the tiny things get on your loved one’s nerves to the point where you snap?

It’s probably not a terribly healthy situation, though. If you plan on staying with this person for any length of time, you need open communications — even about what aggravates you. ESPECIALLY about what aggravates you. If you don’t have that level of communication, then love will turn to contempt in a hurry.

Hope that helps!

If your life was turned into a movie, what actor would play the role of you?
I’d like to say Wil Wheaton, but that’s only because I have a mancrush on him. Though, for accuracy, the younger and more gawky version of him, circa Wesley Crusher.

Have you read the entire Bible or any other religious writing as a whole? How important do you find it to have read them in order to support your arguments as an atheist?
I have read the King James Version of the New Testament twice (or three times, memory fails — let’s say at least twice), cover to cover; the first, sometime after I had discovered that I could read and understand and enjoy Shakespeare outside of class, meaning I suspect I was a capable reader when I first took it on. I do find that it helps if you’re trying to prove that the Bible has a passage to support any viewpoint whatsoever — even ones in contradiction to the Commandments — but I do not find that it informs my arguments as an atheist. It did help me to become an atheist, though. I count reading and understanding the Bible as one of the chief catalysts for understanding that it is nothing but a very old storybook that purports to have a monopoly on morality.

Now, the majority of people I encounter who attempt to proselytize to me, do so from a Christian standpoint. Having read the KJV I do have a relatively strong grasp of the arguments that these specific theists will use, though this doesn’t mean I find myself on particularly unfamiliar territory when, say, a creationist Muslim attempts to debate whether there’s a god. I have noticed that most arguments against a naturalistic worldview take the form of, “X is unproven, therefore god is the answer, therefore that god must be my specific conception of it.” You don’t need a background in their specific religious text to recognize that as a false dichotomy — e.g. just because science has an insufficient answer doesn’t mean your specific god must be true, because there aren’t just two choices. There are as many variations on theism as there are theists, literally.

Now, you can show the specific gods they postulate are specifically unlikely if you understand what properties the religious text ascribe to that god, which does make any such debate easier. But in general, understanding that objective investigation of the universe and its properties — in other words, SCIENCE — is the only epistemology that has ever granted humankind any measure of progress and truth, is really the only support to my arguments as an atheist that I need.

How do you manage being like you are? (:
Oh, it’s tough, I know. But I manage. I manage.

What’s the most liberating thing you’ve done? by minnelle
Not answering this question properly. It’s been hanging over my head for two weeks, becoming something of a ball and chain. By not answering it properly, I’m liberating myself from it.

How do you and pixelsnake maintain your awesome levels of sexy awesomeness? Since we do not have an “evil tardis” (because we are evil schemers with diabolical plans after-all), are you worried of us four causing a massive fun-overload when we meet up? by Tim3p0
That’s a distinct possibility. In fact, it could very well shear the fabric of space and time, resulting in either The Doctor or Cap’n Jack paying us a visit. I hope it’s not Cap’n Jack, though, because, while I like you guys and all, I think it would just turn into one big orgy.

Isn’t It Annoying When People Type Like This, Capitalizing Every Word?
Yes. Yes it is.

well now…why would you call yourself an ass?
AssHOLE. I called myself an assHOLE in my profile. Get it right. (Because I so am. Come on, don’t tell me that wasn’t an asshole-ish way to answer your question!)

Could you go a week without Twitter? If so, how would you waste your time without it?
I seriously doubt I could, now that I’m so hooked. I have plenty of ways of wasting time, though. Do not underestimate my ability to find odd projects to waste my time on. Like Facebook, blogging, fighting with idiots on forums, spending more time on video games, catching up on reading, harassing my cats, programming, taking twenty showers a day…

How is life in Canada?
It’s lovely up here. The growing season started almost two weeks early though, and fire ants are marching their way through Nova Scotia (well out of their seasonal territory, you’d think!), but it’s livable for the time being. Dunno how it’ll be in fifty years, but there you have it.

Also, universal health care is great. If you’re asking how life is here, I’d imagine you’re not from Canada, so chances are high that you’re from the States, so I just wanted to point out that health care as a right is wonderful. ;)

There’s lots of Canadians (snowbirds) in South Florida during winter. Ever partake in the migration? by Bubblypoo
I haven’t! But Jodi and I know a number of Floridians via Twitter, so the draw to pay a visit is getting stronger and stronger.

Depictions of Muhammad: apparently not that bad?

Matt Stone and Trey Parker know full well that, if they are killed by members of the Religion of Peace, they will be martyrs, and it’s grossly unlikely that anyone would want to give them that kind of historical distinction. But I have to say, the worst part of this whole recent situation is that if they are killed (as Revolution Muslim has so completely unthreateningly asserted should happen), they will be killed for no real reason whatsoever.

I say this not merely because I do not subscribe to the fundamentalist Sunni Muslims’ belief that their prophet Muhammad must not be depicted. Nor, on the whole, any other religious delusion they happen to believe. Rather, I say this because Comedy Central has evidently lost its nerve and ensured that the South Park episode in question — Matt and Trey’s third involving Muhammad — actually didn’t involve Muhammad at all. Rather, after all was said and done, the guy in the bear suit (yeah, really) turned out to be Santa Claus. And they censored every instance of his name being spoken til the big reveal at the end, so you never heard “Muhammad” even once through the course of the episode. Matt and Trey went on to censor the obligatory moralistic “you know, I learned something today” speech at the end, as their way of suggesting that censorship has won. The fundamentalists actually won this round. There’s not a shred of Muhammad in the very episode they’re cheesed off about.
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