Why do I despise MRAs?

Because they are narcissistic clueless psychopaths, that’s why. David Futrelle had to ruin my morning by linking to an awful, horrible post by an MRA on Reddit (two words in combination that multiply the dreadful effect of each one alone). It’s written by a smug jerk who is busily congratulating himself on how he and MRAs in general are superior beings with a greater grasp on reality than those childlike women, who are deluded by all those glossy women’s mags they read, don’t you know.

So far, so typical. But there’s a victim here, his wife. She’s quit her job to dedicate herself full time to raising their child, and he finds her weeping on the bed, overcome with stress, and feeling trapped. The whole post is about how weak she is, and how strong he is, and how he does everything for this family.

Except…well, he’s so oblivious that he tells us all about his day.

I rise in the morning, I get my daughter up, fed and dressed, I walk the dog, I put in a solid ten hours at my work to make hundred grand or so a year, then I meet my wife and daughter at the door every evening, cook dinner for us all, bathe my daughter and put her to bed, walk the dog some more and do the dishes. I do the garden, fix anything that needs fixed and take my daughter swimming once a week. In short I do just about everything.

I helpfully highlighted the important part there for you.

This guy does nothing. His wife is on non-stop baby duty all day long, while he’s off interacting with adult human beings who do not poop in their pants and expect him to clean them up, and who speak fluently of phenomena more complex than “play with me” and “feed me”. I’ve been there; I put in full-time baby care briefly while my wife finished her thesis; I’ve been in the shoes of the guy whose wife puts her career on hold to dedicate herself to raising the family even more. Child care can be rewarding, but it’s also a huge amount of stressful work.

This guy blithely tosses all the child care responsibilities on his wife for 10 straight hours a day, then claims he does everything, and can’t understand why she’s depressed and exhausted — why, it must be because she’s been reading Cosmo. Couldn’t have anything to do with her husband being a self-centered asshole.

The kicker is in the comments, where someone suggests that he divorce his useless wife (throughout, she’s faceless and with no personality at all — just another female, weeping). He says he’d rather not, and like the typical egocentric twit, goes on to explain why and removes all doubt that he’s a creep.

I’d be very unlikely to get custody of the wee one, and the damage it would do to her would be awful, I’m sure you agree. We don’t fight and our home life is stable, so I think divorce would likely make things a lot worse for her.

I don’t stand to gain much from a divorce and I’d lose a great deal. Besides, I’m nearly forty and I have a two year old. A wild life of drinking and dating isn’t likely even if we do separate!

His response is to consider it, and to weigh the utility of a divorce. I hope this woman read this and realizes that part of her problem is that she’s married to a loveless shit with no sense of empathy, who really doesn’t love her, and gets out while she can.

Man, if someone asked me why I don’t get a divorce, my response would be a disbelieving stare and the simple statement that we love each other and don’t want to be apart.

Why I am an atheist – Steve

It’s probably a sign that you’re doomed to be a heathen when your initial conception of God was not the Gandalf-looking dude from the “Creation of Adam”, but the Fairy Godmother from “Cinderella.” It was easy for me as a child to buy into fictional characters being real. The brief time that I did go to church, and claim to feel something there like angels in the rafters or whatever, was also at about the same time that I was looking for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in sewer grates. Yep, The Almighty, and four mutated terrapins named after renaissance artists were equally plausible to me.

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An idol…tarnished!

The Vampire Squid, Vampyroteuthis infernalis has the most bad-ass name and has the coolest, creepiest appearance of all the cephalopods — who doesn’t see it and think Halloween? But it’s a little known fact that it actually drifts in deep and nearly anoxic layers of the ocean, surviving by maintaining a very low metabolism, and from what I’ve heard has a soft, flaccid, jelly-like texture (which actually fits with a vampire: have you ever noticed how people in the movies can easily punch crude wooden stakes right into their hearts?)

But now, further disillusionment from an analysis of their diet. It turns out that the vampire squid literally eats shit to live.

Vampyroteuthis infernalis – literally the "vampire squid from hell" – has a pair of thin, retractable filaments. It uses them like a fishing line, letting them drift and collect bits of waste. Wiping the filaments across its arms, the squid combines the waste with mucus secreted from its suckers to form balls of food, which it gobbles up.

Next they’re going to tell me it doesn’t even sparkle. <throws self on bed, weeps into pillow>

Fluff flattened

A while back, I read Hamza Tzortzis’ “paper”, Embryology in the Qur’an: A scientific-linguistic analysis of chapter 23: With responses to historical, scientific & popular contentions. It was terrible and painful: a 58 page treatise (with big print and lots of white space) expanding obsessively on two sentences from the Quran, claiming that it revealed deep insights about embryology that could not have been known without magical, supernatural insight. It was total bullshit.

Now, get ready for this: a couple of scholars have ripped into the Tzortzis paper at length. Embryology in the Quran: Much Ado about Nothing: A Refutation of Hamza Tzortzis’ Embryology in the Qur’an: A Scientific-Linguistic Analysis of Chapter 23.

It’s 149 pages long.

I haven’t read the whole thing, but did a few spot checks, and it looks solid so far. I’m just worried that now we’re in an escalation spiral, and Tzortzis will reply with a badly researched refutation of the refutation that will be 500 pages long.

The letter I was sent about the paper points out that it’s an important perspective, though: it’s not just Western scientists dismissing an Islamic perspective, but the authors are ex-Muslims who grew up steeped in Islamic culture, so it’s an internal criticism.

While it most probably is the case that you are thoroughly bored with Hamza Tzortzis and his fraudulent claims about Embryology in the Quran, there is a new document recently uploaded that does serious damage to the image of Hamza Tzortzis and at the same time, provides a definitive debunking of the unfortunately popular Islamic Embryology claim that has been touted for the last 30 years; spouted and spread so well, that children growing up in Islamic families take it as just another accepted fact and treat it just the same way they treat the fact that the Earth is round. As an Ex-Muslim, I can attest to this as I too for several years took it for granted that the Quran contained modern embryological facts (even when I knew nothing of the subject as a kid).

The embryology claim is one that has been unfortunately drilled deep into the psyche of most Muslims. The name “Keith Moore” is pretty much a house hold name for many Muslims. It is for this very reason that ex-Muslims like myself consider this new document titled “Embryology in the Quran: Much Ado about Nothing” very very important.

While yourself and many others have refuted Hamza’s hogwash, it is also true that the refutations so far were quite generalized . They very well do appeal to Skeptics (esp. those from the Christian background), however they were never enough to convince most of the Muslims and even ex-Muslims as they grew up knowing every detail of apologetics regarding this claim like the back of their hand.

This is where the new paper stands different. It takes a somewhat “James Randian” approach and uses the exact sources and methodologies used by Muslims to disprove definitively the embryology claim. The arguments in there have such a depth that even Muslims won’t be able to ignore them (or at least not without maintaining a cognitive dissonance).

Good. More voices and more perspectives are always helpful.

I don’t care, just GIVE ME A CHOICE

A blogger recently posed this question.

If I had to vote for one of two hypothetical candidates, would I be more likely to vote for a liberal Christian or a conservative atheist?

My first, immediate response was to just answer the question: yes, of course I’d vote for the liberal Christian. All you have to do is realize that Karl Rove is an atheist to know that the label “atheist” is not an automatic marker for a good person (just as we know “Christian” isn’t either, with more examples than I can count.)

But then I thought about it a moment more, and realized it is a goddamned stupid question.

I have never, in my entire life, been given an opportunity to vote for an openly atheist candidate for any office. Not once. This is a radically hypothetical question postulating an unthinkable world (to an American, at least) in which atheists can run for office without the bigoted Christian majority making it an exercise in futility, where we actually get a choice. In that reality, I think actually I might seriously consider voting for a non-odious conservative atheist (not Karl Rove, not a Randian asshole) just for the novelty of it all and to see someone, anyone representing my irreligious views in office.

Because isn’t that really the issue, that atheists are virtually locked out of most offices?

Then there are some weird assumptions in the question itself. What if a conservative atheist were answering it? There’d be no conflict of values at all. Notice how it simply assumes that nearly all atheist readers would be politically liberal — which I think is mostly true, despite the strong strain of Libertarianism within atheism.

But doesn’t that imply that if we had an atheist candidate representative of most atheists’ political leanings, the question ought to be:

If I had to vote for one of two hypothetical candidates, would I be more likely to vote for a liberal Christian or a liberal atheist?

O Glorious Imaginary Universe of Delightful Choices! Can you imagine going into the voting booth and finding yourself confronted with a decision between two reasonable, intelligent, thoughtful candidates, rather than Dumb Thug vs. the person the other party decided to run against it? Or, as I often find when voting for local offices, Dumb Thug vs. Dumb Thug.

But of course what reality tells us is that the candidate who clothes himself in religious garb and makes their faith an issue in a political campaign is almost always conservative — religion tends to side with stupid, archaic, and authoritarian on social issues. What that means is that if we ever did get an opportunity to make that choice at the ballot box, it would look like this:

If I had to vote for one of two hypothetical candidates, would I be more likely to vote for a conservative Christian or a liberal atheist?

And now it’s no question at all.

Around FtB

Since I’m utterly useless these days, you’ll have to get your jollies by browsing elsewhere on the network.

  • Ed Brayton really doesn’t like SE Cupp. Neither do I. He fails to mention one awful moment in that clip: she cites Ayn Rand. Positively.

  • Zinnia Jones suggests that we shouldn’t use religious arguments even in favor of causes we support.

  • Brianne Bilyeu thinks we can acquire a Minnesooota accent just by living here. That settles it, I’ve got to mööve, fer sure.

  • Would you believe that the loons on AVoiceForMen are arguing that middle-class white men are the new “nigger”? “NO WAY,” says Ian Cromwell.

  • Dana Hunter sees birds.

  • Stephanie Zvan announces another Mock The Movie night on Thursday. I have to miss this one, I’m working late and then traveling late. Mock on!

  • Justin Griffith has a love story. Also a tragedy: so many young people are getting maimed in our wars.



Mohave ground squirrels at a camera trap bait pile. Not shown: “Free Skwirl Fud” sign. Photo by U.S. Army Engineer Research & Development Center

It’s a year old, but I just read a paper on one of those species that pops up pretty frequently in environmental impact reports — the Mohave ground squirrel, Xerospermophilus mohavensis — whose conclusions add a little bit more depth to the Deep Time perspective of the desert around here. And by “depth” I mean “epic stories.”

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