Milo Finally Comes Through 

Awhile ago, I happened upon a small amount of media coverage surrounding Milo Yiannopoulos’s  depositing of the proceeds of a personal crowd funding campaign (meant to help privileged white males obtain post secondary education) into his personal bank account. It was an action criticized by many for obvious reasons.

It limits transparency. He could have been pocketing intrest accumulated on cash that wasen’t / isn’t his to begin with (if there is interest earned on that cash, it should stay with the cash it was sourced from, NOT Milo’s account). And it just looks bad. 

Though I tried to keep fairly ambiguous on the matter, in all honesty, malice would NOT have surrprised me. The sheeple of the internet may swoon because of this mans shared views of their social justice nemesis (I have even seen him called an intellectual) , but its not hard to see what lies beneath. Hell, not even beneath really. 

He is a selfish, arrogant asshole that only exists in ANY limelight due to aligning with a cohort tgat will praise anyone that toes their line. And no matter what one thinks with regard to his Twitter ban (I just don’t give a shit), it did nothing but help him.

But that all dosen’t really matter. His glaring short comings to the status quo are virtuous to his ideological cohort. Irrelevant. 

What matters here, is that he seems to have followed though. 

https://qz.com/900514/breitbart-editor-milo-yiannopouloss-privilege-grant-exclusively-available-to-white-men-is-now-taking-applications/

Here is a link to the grant page itself. 

https://privilegegrant.com

In all honesty, I have few feelings about the grant itself. There is likley feminist arguments and theory that I could draw from, but in this case, all seems to be in order. People gave to a fundraiser expecting a cause to be supported. And it seems that said goal is / will be fulfilled. 

I wrote critical things at least twice due to percieved malice. So may as well aknowledge when I was wrong. Indeed, one could bring up the interest argument. But I won’t harp on it (that is, assuming some white guys get their education paid for). 

One thing I want to criticize however, is the article I choose, in its wording. I will borrow a quote from it for reference.

“No, this isn’t a joke,” confirms Milo Yiannopoulos, the Breitbart editor and alt-right leader, who’s currently ruffling college campuses with inflammatory speeches on a national tour, and who last year founded the Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant: a college scholarship program only open to white male students.

First off, it seems to be a progressive source, so that will be apparent. I use media for getting  facts, information, pr as reference points (such as in this post). The slant is irrelevant. 

That said, the article says “Breitbart editor and alt right leader”

I was under the impression that Milo didn’t really see himself as alt right, let alone an alt right leader. Assuming this is a correct assessment, I have to declare my annoyance to the journalists that propagate this stuff (be it intentionally or unintentionally). In an environment where everybody opposition media outlets are called fake news, why are we encouraging this behavier by being incompetent, or shady? 

I don’t give a fuck if you are a little online based portal  catoring to a niche, or a traditional organization. Your lack of standards reflects badly on EVERYONE!

Posted in Opinion, Various Commentary | Leave a comment

Semantics – Words I Am Weary Of

The last 2 to 3 years has been an interesting journey. In some ways, a journey unlike any that I have ever embarked on before. A journey that had little to do with the physical, but everything to do with the mental. 

I have had changes in ideology before. I once embraced the cultual concept of Atheism at the end of a rough journey (I had already accepted the reality mentally. I just learned that there was a word for it). Also in high school (albeit later), a close friend caused a 180 degree shift in my attitude towards drugs. He was a good guy, which didn’t fit with my previous conclusion of what a druggie (even a pothead!) was. 

Looking back, my anti-drug stance was a bit amusing, considering my actions. Though I kept away from the taboo stuff, I had no problem with caffine or sugar. I loved guzzling coke and energy drinks. Mainly full throttle, but really, anything that came in a giant eye catching can (the marketers knew their audience). 
But then again, the teachers also loved parading in with their Tim Hortons coffee every morning. At least the coke bottles and energy drink cans were recyclable! 

Either way, you get the point. 

Though I embraced new ideological stances in the past, in hindsight, it was a relatively easy process. Be it Atheism, drugs or whatever, the groundwork is already laid for you. As opposed to task  of more recent years, which was figuring out where to go without the guidence of ideological roadmaps. 

I had started this journey even before the obvious breaking point (see the first post in the “Atheism criticisms” category). Even in high school, I seen silliness in how one of my parents aligned themselves politically ( “My father voted “X”, so I vote for “X” to” ). But I didn’t REALLY start cleaning house until driven out of the Atheist community (or, it felt like that at least). 

One of the larger lessons I have had to learn was that it is largely pointless to try and sell a label free (or at least, a less label oriented) existence. If you don’t pick one, you are put into one. And some even turn it into an ideology all in its own (the no labels movement).

Thus I have learned that trying to explain myself is largly fruitless (let alone trying to make myself more compatible to ongoing discussion). Which is why I mostly shy away, with the exception of here on this blog, and the odd comment thread now and again.

 But this viewpoint as a fly on the wall has served to help me identify a few habits involving a number of words. Be it unnecessary usage, misusage or something else, these are common enough to identify. These situations can occur in digital debate or in everyday conversation. And they are common enough to act as red flags to me in EVERY instance of hearing (or reading) them. 

Lets begin.

Logic

Reason

Rationality/Rational

Nuance/Nuanced

Freethinker

This group of words are what I call intellectual buzzwords. They are often used in debates, or as personal descriptive adjectives. But this use is unnecessary.   

I admit, I to, likley utilized what I call the big 3 in my past years as an outspoken Agnostic Atheist. It just comes with the territory.

But upon further reflection and trimming of the intellectual fat (if you will), I realized that one who truly embraces all of the above, is apparent. You do not have to tell people that you have nuanced, logical, rational and reasonable arguments. It will be obvious. 

And don’t feed me the “But some people in the opposition . . .” line either. Most in the digital keyboard warrier opposition tend to be idiots (at least looking at secular and religious discussion). Who cares what they think. What is more important, is how solid your understanding of the words REALLY is. 

To be perfectly frank, if you have to clutch these words like a catholic cluttches a rosery, I am thinking that you fail in this regard. And while I only bring anecdotes to the table, my experience generally backs up this hypothesis.

Believe

My issue with this one tends to center around contexts like “Do you believe in Ghosts?” or “Do you believe in bigfoot?”

Many Ghost hunting (and other mystery hunting shows and individuals) like to spread and propagate this God awful question (“Do YOU believe?“). Drives me fucking nuts, because their portrayal of what constitutes so called evidence often feeds into other contexts outside of the supernatural realm. Therein making people more prone to let their guard down out of unjustified faith in all manor of situations where skeptical analysis SHOULD be rule number 1. 

A family member of mine is convinced of the fruitlessness of his trying anything to help himself. Because his delusions of “being cursed or being born under a black cloud” (a conclusion arrived at due to a lifetime of hardships) is bolstered by a flawed understanding of what constitutes evidence. A learned behavior due to spending hours watching God awful fucking paranormal documentaries. 

Yeah. I FUCKING HATE the Ghost Hunting genre. 

But that is another tangent. The more important point being, “Do you believe in BLAH?” forces a person to craft an ambiguous subject matter into a black and white answer. Which is fine for many simple minds. But it annoys the Fuck out of this mind. 

If someone asked me a question involving some ambiguous subject matter (ghosts, God, Bigfoot, ancient aliens, mermaids, WHATEVER!), I really have no rebuttal.  It’s a given that I wouldn’t say yes. But I also wouldn’t say no. I just don’t give a fuck. 

I do not have the tools or faculties to figure these things out. Hell, humanity doesn’t. So thus, I don’t give a shit.

Don’t worry, this is not all self serving.

 Forcing such ambiguous subject matter into a yes or no construct forces anyone answering into an irrational position. Either one says “No” (irrational, since no one can know one way or the other), and gets into a conversation about what they are missing. Or they say “Yes”, and delve into what ever terrible History or Sci-fi channel show convinced them. 

If we’re talking about issues in reality, it’s a different. story. For example, if someone asked me “Do you Believe Barack Obama was a good President?” or “Do you believe Donald Trump is a lying scumbag?“, I would immediately say “Yes!”. 

But when in the realm of the unknown (unknowable?), leave out the cliffhanger. Try “Do you think it be possible if ________ ?” or another less pointed questions of inquiry.

Apparently/I heard that . . .

The context for this is generally also the real world (like the last one). It typically involves repeating some heard but unchecked fact or statement. For example, “Apparently when you microwave food, something happens to it that makes it carcinogenic“. 

The strange tidbits of fact learned by these statements could (had?) To be overlooked 20, possibly even 15 years ago. When I was a teenager, many had one shared family computer at home. Though one could have remembered to look up that tidbit, good luck (we have all went out to buy one item, only to return with 10 , but NOT the one you set out for). 

However, nowadays, rare is the person not more than 5 feet away from an internet connection. 

Ignorance is no longer a valid excuse. 

*****************

My list may grow longer. But for the time being, this is it. 

Posted in Opinion, Other | Leave a comment

“CDC Knew Its Vaccine Program Was Exposing Children to Dangerous Mercury Levels Since 1999” – (Ecowatch)

​Yep. If you thought Ecowatch was bad in terms of the GMO stuff, you ain’t seen NOTHING yet! 

Apparently all one needs to get published here . . . is a pen and a theory.

 Uncovered documents show that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) knew that infant vaccines were exposing American children to mercury far in excess of all federal safety guidelines since 1999. The documents, created by a FDA consulting toxicologist, show how federal regulators concealed the dangerous impacts and lied to the public. 

I can’t wait to see this.

In 1997, Congress passed the FDA Modernization Act. A provision of that statute required the FDA to “compile a list of drugs that contain intentionally introduced mercury compounds, and provide a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the mercury compounds on the list.” In response, manufacturers reported the use of the mercury-based preservative, thimerosal, in more than 30 licensed vaccines.

I once looked into thiomersal for myself . Short answer . . . no problem. 

FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) was responsible for adding up the cumulative exposure to mercury from infant vaccines, a simple calculation that, astonishingly, had never been performed by either the FDA or the CDC. When the agency finally performed that basic calculation, the regulators realized that a six month-old infant who received thimerosal-preserved vaccines following the recommended CDC vaccine schedule would have received a jaw dropping 187.5 micrograms of mercury.
Instead of immediately ordering the removal of thimerosal, FDA officials circled the wagons treating the public health emergency as a public relations problem.Peter Patriarca, then director of the FDA Division of Viral Products, warned his fellow bureaucrats that hasty removal of thimerosal from vaccines would:

” … raise questions about FDA being ‘asleep at the switch’ for decades by allowing a potentially hazardous compound to remain in many childhood vaccines, and not forcing manufacturers to exclude it from new products. It will also raise questions about various advisory bodies regarding aggressive recommendations for use. We must keep in mind that the dose of ethylmercury was not generated by “rocket science.” Conversion of the percentage thimerosal to actual micrograms of mercury involves ninth grade algebra. What took the FDA so long to do the calculations? Why didn’t CDC and the advisory bodies do these calculations when they rapidly expanded the childhood immunization schedule?”

187.5 micrograms does sound like a lot, indeed. Will someone PLEASE think of the children!

First off, keep away the tuna. 

*An average 5-ounce serving (1 can) of light tuna contains 18.11 micrograms of mercury.

*An average 5-ounce serving (1 can) of albacore tuna contains 49.53 micrograms of mercury. 

*An average 5-ounce serving of tuna steak or tuna sushi could contain up to 97.49 micrograms.

https://www.google.ca/amp/www.menshealth.com/nutrition/eating-tuna-every-day-safe%3Famp 

And secondly, there is this:

Thimerosal has been removed from or reduced to trace amounts in all vaccines routinely recommended for children 6 years of age and younger, with the exception of inactivated influenza vaccine (see Table 1). A preservative-free version of the inactivated influenza vaccine (contains trace amounts of thimerosal) is available in limited supply at this time for use in infants, children and pregnant women. Some vaccines such as Td, which is indicated for older children (≥ 7 years of age) and adults, are also now available in formulations that are free of thimerosal or contain only trace amounts. Vaccines with trace amounts of thimerosal contain 1 microgram or less of mercury per dose.

http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/UCM096228 

It should be noted that thiomersal is/was in these vaccines as a preservative to help prevent contamination (particularly in multi-dose vials). This became necessary after children died. 

/In January 1928, in the early stages of an immunization campaign against diphtheria, Dr. Ewing George Thomson, Medical Officer of Health of Bundaberg, began the injection of children with toxin-antitoxin mixture. The material was taken from an India-rubber-capped bottle containing 10 mL of TAM. On the 17th, 20th, 21, and 24th January, Dr. Thomson injected subcutaneously a total of 21 children without ill effect. On the 27th a further 21 children were injected.Of these children .eleven died on the 28th and one on the 29th. (Wilson 1967)

The investigation concluded with this:

The consideration of all possible evidence concerning the deaths at Bundeberg points to the injection of living staphylococci as the cause of the fatalities.

But most important out of ALL of this, the math and the science. 

Thimerosal in concentrations of 0.001% (1 part in 100,000) to 0.01% (1 part in 10,000) has been shown to be effective in clearing a broad spectrum of pathogens. A vaccine containing 0.01% thimerosal as a preservative contains 50 micrograms of thimerosal per 0.5 mL dose or approximately 25 micrograms of mercury per 0.5 mL dose. 

These are currant figures. But for the sake of argument, I will assume that the number quoted earlier in the Ecowatch piece (187.5 micrograms) is the historical total. The above shows that there are about 25 micrograms of mercury for every 50 micro grams of thiomersal. Using that calculation (half!), that brings that terrible 187.5 micrograms down to 93.75 (or 94 micrograms, to keep things clean). Which is still quite high, but its equivalent to one tuna steak or 2 cans of albacore.
This is a bit of a false equivalency on my part, because I cant use the Tuna comparison without noting that the mercury contained in tuna and thiomersal are 2 different types. Thiomersal contains ethyl mercury, whereas the type commonly found in tuna (and other types of seafood) is methlmercury. Both have differing toxicity profiles, with ethyl mercury having the shortest half life of the 2. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23401210

Generally, though considered harmful to pregnant women and children (due to potential developmental issues), mercury isn’t to terrible. You need to watch your intake and be careful how you handle the stuff (think broken thermometers or florescent lightbulbs). However, vaccination of yourself AND your children (particularly now, when the thiomersal has been almost eliminated) is of little consequence, in terms of mercury consumption. 

It vastly pales to the personal and societal risk posed by not being inoculated against all manor of infectious illness. A big reason why I am a fan of mandated vaccination of school aged children. That way they need not suffer even if their parent(s) spend to much time reading anti-vaccination propaganda. 

The agency consulted with experts in the field of toxicology to better understand the potential impact of these exposure levels. One consultant was Barry Rumack, MD. Dr. Rumack, at the time, had a private consulting practice, Rumack Consulting, where he offered “toxicologic and pharmacologic evaluation of drugs, biological and potentially toxic or hazardous agents for government and industry.” After creating several scenarios based on infants’ ages and weights, Dr. Rumack modeled blood and body burden levels in 1999.

Excellent. Finally a person to look into. And I have found him.

Surely you can’t be serious. 

I had to. 

With that obligatory silliness out of the way, back to business. Along with the beloved Leslie Nielson character, I also found one doctor (now deceased) from the metro-Denver area. The right guy, being that the ecowatch piece links to the same LinkedIn profile I found on my own.   

That aside, onto his models. 

The models predicted sharp peaks of mercury concentrations in both blood and tissue, in a stair-step sequence following each of the new thimerosal-containing vaccines given during the first six months of life. Based on these models, Rumack predicted exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines was dosing American children with mercury levels far exceeding all three federal safety guidelines established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), FDA, and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). There was no point in time from birth to approximately 16-18 months of age that infants were below the EPA guidelines for allowable mercury exposure. In fact, according to the models, blood and body burden levels of mercury peaked at six months of age at a shockingly high level of 120ng/liter. To put this in perspective, the CDC classifies mercury poisoning as blood levels of mercury greater than 10 ng/L 

Considering the minimal amount of thiomersal (let alone mercury) in modern vaccines, my eyebrow is raised by both the numbers and the graphic. The fact that these numbers are measured in different units (nanograms rather than micrograms) also doesn’t help things. 

Now, why are we being given information in a unit below that of what we were previously using? Lets do some math. 

120ng/L = 0.12 micrograms

10ng/L = 0.01 micrograms

Note this as well: 

Defining safe levels of mercury in blood continues to be an active research area. In 2000, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences determined that a level of 85 micrograms per liter (µg/L) in cord blood was associated with early neurodevelopmental effects. The lower 95% confidence limit of this estimate was 58 µg/L. All blood mercury levels for persons in the Fourth Report were less than 33 µg/L.

From a cdc factsheet.

https://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/Mercury_FactSheet.html

We have established trickery in data presentation.  Always a good start.

After receiving this alarming news from its toxicological consultant, the FDA chose to conceal these acute exposures using a deceptive statistical trick. Instead of honestly reporting the dangerous spikes in pediatric blood levels, FDA’s public documents averaged the exposures over a six month period despite the fact that the exposures only occurred on four days during that six month period: at birth, and at two, four and six months of age.

Ah, you mean the deceptive statistical trick I just caught you engaging in? Change out one dynamic (in this case, a unit of measure), and suddenly people that don’t know any better are horrified. 

As for the FDA’s trickery . . . WHAT trickery?! After being injected with a substance, its levels spike. Then they go down to background again (see half life, above). Like most everything else that goes in. 

Nice try. Society regressing dipshits.

An analogy would be to compare taking two Tylenol tablets a day for a month to taking 60 Tylenol tablets in one day; the first exposure is acceptable, while the other is lethal.

Then why are there not hundreds of thousands of dead infants being reported in the news, at the hand of vaccines? 

TERRIBLE analogy. Even for an anti-vaxxer!

Using this misleading gimmick, regulators were able to report that mercury exposure levels were below FDA and ATSDR guidelines. Even after employing this deception, the levels were still above EPA guidelines which were the most stringent of the three. Numerous toxicologists have reported that the FDA’s calculation, averaging these high bolus dose exposures, was not appropriate.

I think one should first note (again) that mercury is not a single substance. Its 3 different ones. Each with distinct properties. 

https://www.epa.gov/mercury/health-effects-exposures-mercury

Also, even if the EPA has these guidelines (I would assume for mercury in the bloodstream), I can’t find them. But I did find some other standards. 

Fresh water = 0.77mg/L

Salt Water = 0.94mg\L

Drinking Water =0.02 mg\L

Ground Water = 2mg/L

Bottled Water = 0.02mg/L

Air – No Standard

Fish = 0.3 mg/kg 

Being that 0.85mg\L in cord blood is the known benchmark for early neurological affects, the levels causing alarm here (0.12mg/L) are well below that, even if not within all EPA standards.  

Additionally disturbing, the FDA assigned a pediatrician with little knowledge of toxicology to oversee its public reporting.When Dr. Leslie Ball was asked why she reported the mercury exposure levels in this deceptive fashion, she responded, “That is what I was told to do.”

And out comes the tinfoil. 

http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/ucm431700.htm

Viewing this (assuming I have the correct person), the quote looks very  suspect. She looks more than qualified enough to be beyond regurgitating someone else’s false data (unlike a certain eco-publication that shall remain nameless). Thus I suspect an out of context, or flat out fabricated quote.

https://books.google.ca/books?id=JlCS2A9WkuoC&pg=PA113&lpg=PA113&dq=dr+leslie+ball+mercury+exposure&source=bl&ots=0k7C_ArFdK&sig=rP1zitf92Dmwet-PqywV4qT9x2M&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiP1fT43tPRAhWp1IMKHRpfCeMQ6AEIGjAA#v=onepage&q=dr%20leslie%20ball%20mercury%20exposure&f=false

My answer is on page 114 of this ebook. It seems not a fabrication, but indeed, out of context. 

I hate sourcing that book, because even IT is suspect. Albeit hilarious. All the dramatization of the nervous doctors . . . who needs soap operas! 

In an e-mail to her superiors at the FDA on July 6, 1999, marked as being highly important and confidential and obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, Dr. Ball asked Norman Baylor, PhD, director of the Office of Vaccines Research Review, “Has the application of these calculations as exposure guidelines received the sign off by toxicologists? In prior discussions, the toxicologists seemed reluctant to state any Hg (mercury) level was ‘safe.'” 

In further email discussion between the CDC and FDA regarding the development of a consensus statement on the use of thimerosal in influenza vaccination of pregnant women, William Egan, acting office director of the Office of Vaccine Research and Review, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the FDA, commented:

“I’m not sure that I would want to argue, for example, that one could take the allowed amount of mercury for a year and administer it as a bolus injection with the same outcomes as having it spaced out evenly over a year; the issue then becomes how much of a bolus can one give at one time without harmful effect, and this data does not exist (or at least I’m not aware of them).” 

Despite Egan’s well-reasoned revelations, FDA and CDC regulators went ahead with their dangerously misleading announcement. 

With this deceitful calculation in hand, the Public Health Service and the American Academy of Pediatrics reported to the American public on July 9, 1999:
“There is a significant safety margin incorporated into all the acceptable mercury exposure limits. Furthermore, there are no data or evidence of any harm caused by the level of exposure that some children may have encountered in following the existing immunization schedule. Infants and children who have received thimerosal-containing vaccines do not need to be tested for mercury exposure.”

Seventeen years later, thanks to the FDA’s 1999 sleight of hand, neurotoxic thimerosal, an unnecessary and dangerous vaccine preservative, continues to be injected into pregnant women, infants and children in the U.S. pursuant to the CDC’s recommendations and, in much larger doses, into hundreds of millions of children across the developing world. 

When it comes to the emails (and the quotes therein), I am unsure what to make of it. I did some looking, but could not really find much of anything. The article links to 2 photographed paper copies of old emails, but that doesn’t tell me anything. Im sure its not the first time that someone has faked an email for some purpose or another. Even I could do it with the right equipment.

As for the “thiomersal is STILL being injected into us!” allegation, again, nuance is lacking. Saftey concerns AND anti-vaxxer dipshits have driven the thiomersal content in vaccines down a lot. When this started, I am unsure of the levels. Not that it really matters anyway (were doing things better). 

Sophocles wrote, “All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Ruth Etzel, MD, gave similar advice to her fellow regulators immediately after the FDA toxicologist repeated the monumental error by vaccine safety officials:
“The AAP should be dedicated to promptly providing truthful information about this situation to pediatricians. We must follow three basic rules:
1. Act quickly to inform pediatricians that the products have more mercury than we realized.

2. Be open with consumers about why we didn’t catch this earlier.

3. Show contrition

“As you know, the Public Health Service informed us yesterday that they were planning to conduct business as usual and would probably express no preference for either product. While the Public Health Service may think that their ‘product’ is immunizations, I think their “product” is their recommendations. If the public loses faith in the PHS recommendations, then the immunization battle will falter. To keep faith, we must be open and honest now and move forward quickly to replace these products.”

Ignoring Etzel’s wise advice, the CDC elected to paper over their catastrophic mistake and double down on vaccine mercury. By continuing to allow thimerosal to be used in vaccines, the CDC is causing harm to American pregnant women, their growing babies and to 100 million children all over the planet. And now we have proof that our regulators know exactly what they are doing.

I also have proof that these people knew exactly what they were doing. Unlike you easily paranoid and civilization regressing morons. 

When an unvaccinated child gets sick with whooping cough or some other nasty illness that we know how to prevent, it is not an unfortunate event, or par for the course. 

It is child abuse.

When a fairly large cohort of a population unable to accept vaccination due to health issues out of their control becomes ill due to a large cohort of  anti-vaxxers diluting an areas herd immunity properties, that is negligence. 

We have (as usual!) partly our overly Microtargeted digital world to blame for this. Yet another manifestation of what happens when you expose an untrained populace to enormous volumes of information, but don’t warn them that not all of it is legitimate (even if the author is falsely presenting it that way. And this doesn’t even count all the ways in which information can be fiddled with for the purpose of presentation.

That taken into consideration, as in a court of law, ignorance (in my view) only goes so far. The law has stepped in when children have died due to ill health brought on by false alternative medical choices of parents. Why not take a preventative measure in mandatory vaccination? 

After all, like laws against (say) drunk driving, were not just talking about the individual, or a family. Were talking EVERYONE. 

Particularly our most vulnerable. 

Posted in Opinion | 2 Comments

Social Justice Warrior’s – An Overhyped Threat?

Being I that I keep an eye on the chatter of a couple of online communities that overlap into the territory of social justice, I have heard many views on the topic. Everything from people that are annoyed (yet not overly worried), to people that feel that SJW’S are a threat to our very civilization (typicly, this is in  combination with mass muslim immigration). 

Though I have been all over this scale in the past year or so, ive never gone right to the very extreme (the END of western civilization!). I was pretty far at one point however, at least in terms of the feminist angle. I have written posts in the past that were fearing the future of healthy relationships due to heavy handed social justice on steroids.

I would later relax these views a bit. Not due to having any of them changed, persay. More, because I realized that my view of the world is very niched, primarily due to a reliance on social media as a source of information. Like most of us. 

I would see different trends happening, as shown to me by many diffrent youtube (and other) sources I often utilize. For example, the authoritarian SJW problem on campuses, and the European migrant crisis in (primarily) Germany. My social media explorations would paint a very vivid picture, which would indeed be cause for alarm. But I also had another perspective in which to view this problem. People in acadamia, one of which went to Germany. 

Though my social media feed painted quite a drastic picture, the observations from the other perspective tended to be contradictory. 2 campuses had little (if any) SJW authoritarian control. And despite a trip covering damn near the whole of the country of Germany, my source failed to run into even 1 case of lawlassness and depravity. 

Before you head right to the comment section and call me out on my obvious flawed argument, hold on a second. I know that anecdotes are not proof of anything. 2 samples of a huge pool, and one single persons experiences, are circumstantial at best. But even if they don’t give you the whole picture, they can give you leads towards the all important bigger picture.

When it comes to social media, what I see is heavily dictated by past personal interactions and behaviers. If I have an intrest in this topic or that, my various feeds will reflect that. Because that is what drives profit. The more likely I am to interact with social media, the more useful my data is. 

An unfortunate side affect of this personally tailored digital life is how unkowing people can start spotting trends in society at large that may or may not be corroborated in reality. For example, I see lots examples of SJW authoritarianism online, so I concluded it to be a serious problem. The more I explored it, the more related materials I am steered toward. And the worse the situation seems to be. 

Thus, was forced to take a step back and ask, am I seeing the whole picture? Or reacting to an artificially constructed one?

In many contexts (this one included), I was unsure how to answer that. The obvious answer would seem to be “you’re online! Dig!”. 

Indeed, im online. The land of a million diffrent slants, ideologies and biases, almost all filtered through the very same microtargetting machine as I am dealing with. Given this, I choose to remain  unopinionated (agnostic?) on the issue. Which is my default on anything outside of my knowledge. 

In my recent travels in the Youtube app, I came across the following  video, made by Dusty Smith. 

https://youtu.be/AgIzuEb0TrM

I am generally not a fan of Dusty and his material, having called out his antics in the past. But like with his video on the often flawed GMO conversation, I think he raises a valid concern here. He is mainly focused on conservative Christians, but I don’t fault that. His nich is the atheist community, so he caters to his audience. 

One of the things I have done a lot of  lately has been atempting (however unsuccessfully) to get people in my ranks to be more concerned with the big problems of the commons, and less concerned with the often trivial problems (if they even ARE problems, in some cases) of their residing niches. One of my main focuses is on the atheist community (and its insistence on putting up a  rift in the general secular community). I have issue with the left in general, really. It seems we are more open to differing ideas and opinions than other macros, but only to a point. Where the right has many fairly large macros, thr left is split into many small ones. Often divided by such silly reasonings to be laughable. 

And within this mess, you have most of the SJW’s (at least as defined by todays common usage). They have been given their own category (regressive left) whilst the rest of their counterparts run to the other side of the room (classical liberals). One thing is for sure, there is no shortage of fingers pointed at the left’s fringe elements. Even some of our classic right wing opposition are looking on and saying “DAMN, they crazy!”. 

Im not really sure how to conclude this, because its less a view than a question. Is the threat of the regressive SJW left REALLY worthy of all this attention? 

Or a bigger one (at least in my mind), is there anyone objective enough to be able to answer this question? 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Apistevist – A Term Revisited

​It has been a long time since I last touched on this topic. In fact, I had intended to not ever touch on it again. I have grown bored of delving into irrelevant topics. A category that entails pretty much anything that has no impact on my (or anyone else’s) day to day life. The logic being, why concern yourself with altogether irrelevant topics and informationl when one can use their brain power for something more stimulating. I could say something more important, but who would I be kidding. 

Having said that however, it seems that there is more that can be done with this term. First, because I had a person write a rebuttal to my piece (to which a friend of mine wrote a rebuttal to them. Both will be shared later). And also because there is chatter on this topic in different places online (mainly Reddit) that is worth exploring. 

I’ll start with the rebuttal. Starting with a few comments on my previous posts, it was done in a publicly shared note on Facebook. The link to the note is below, and i’ll quote what is necessary. 

I Am An Apistevist 

In other words, I do not make decisions based on “Faith” (religious or any other version of blind faith). 

However, some do present twisted arguments pointing to my alleged use of faith nonetheless.

 Here is one argument from the site “The Thought Zone”:

 “When it comes to a testing of the Apistevist philosophy, I don’t think there is any better an example to use then Air Travel (…). When you get on board a plane, the moment that airplane starts taxiing out to the runway, you have put your life in the hands of the pilots. For better or for worse, you’re largely out of control of your fate. (…) unless the plane is also being flown by a familiar pilot, your still basing the your accretion* on faith. Even if unknowingly.” 

How misleading is that?

Not at all. I also don’t see myself “twisting” anything, but I will hear you out first. 

Faith = Absolute certainty not needing empirical evidence—as opposed to “doubt” which is the contrary of Faith. In fact, most fundamentalist religions present the lack of Faith as punishable. Faith is not open to being corrected nor criticized. One does not have Faith with a healthy dose of skepticism! That’s absurd.

I would say that bringing up the rules and regulations of fundamentalist religion in a context that has nothing to do with fundamentalist religion is absurd, but again, I will hear you out.

So, when I go on a plane, although I have reasonable expectations that the flight will end well (relative trust), I still have enough doubt in me to know it could go wrong. In no way does that fit the usage of the word “Faith”.

The reason why I argue that EVERYONE comes across moments of faithfulness in life, is because few of us give any of these questions a second thought. 

The food at the restaurant arrives, you eat it. You run a cup full of water (or crack open a water bottle), you drink it. You grab a can of recently purchased tuna from your pantry, and make lunch. You board the plane and do whatever people do on planes between point A and point B. 

Most do not weigh the risks of consuming from the plate in front of them, the water in their hand, or that can of tuna. And most people do not ask “Am I on the next Air France 447?!” whilst they sit at the gate. And for good reason. Such a life would be crippling. Nevermind just being limited by a fear of air travel . . . try getting something to sustain yourself at the supermarket. 

 Unless there is a reason to make us give this normally invisible dynamic of life any thought (for example, drinking water in a place like Flint MI, or a knowing of a recent recall on canned tuna as you open one), we do not give it a second thought. In this sense, faith does not really strike me as a bad thing, or a negative. It’s just like any other unavoidable constant in life . . . It just is. 

What is absurd to me, is this aversion (often seen in many non-theists) to ANY concept that can even be distantly connected to religiosity in any way. In this context, it is the concept of faith. Another that comes to mind is Atheism as a religion . 

When understood in context, there is no reason for either concept to be incompatible with an Atheist or other Non-theist stance. Despite this however, I often see such individuals use copious amounts of mental gymnastics to keep from in any way touching something they perceive as being purely irrational. 

When I fly I am an apistevist. I do not use Faith in any way—I still mainly use doubt and skepticism with a healthy dose of reasonable expectation—enough to know the odds are in favor of the trip ending well, while not being 100% sure it will. —That is not even close to ressembling faith. It’s called “Reasonable Expectation”, supported by track records and empirical evidence. —Simply said, it’s Reason. 

All I see is another performance of mental gymnastics caused by me forcing you to think about the concept. Capped off with an intellectual buzzword. Such buzzwords are often utilized by those that apparently fail to deduct that a true embodiment of the words would never have to use them. It would be obvious.

I do appreciate the reply, however. Even if it all ends up being pointless in the end. And yes, accretion (assertion) was a typo. 

I will now present my friends rebuttal to you. If it seems like he is talking down to you from a point of intellectual superiority . . . Your hunch is correct. 

He is.

Regard this bumbling fool who bears no faith – not in God, not in anything at all – who makes no motions for he doubts that his legs might break his fall.  This Adonis is not moved by any vision, for he doubts his eyes; he is not moved by any calls, for he doubts his ears; he is not moved by any pains, for he doubts his skin.  What can we make of this lord?  He can make nothing: he cannot think for he doubts even his doubt! Is this our lesson, that we must bear some faith, that we need only dig so far to bury our foundations?

The faithless contend this absurdity.  “We must keep digging!” they call out, as if they are under threat from the sun itself.  Soon they shall suffocate, for they have taken a risk to alleviate another.  For all choice involves risk.  All belief or matter of fact is uncertain and our faithful commitment to the proposition puts us too at risk.  Yet to fail to commit, to fail to bear some faith, is too a risk.  While those who are not so intellectual that we might build with our hands a system of knowledge begin to scrap together bricks and mortar, the truly faithless lose themselves in tunnels where they seek to pour their concrete if only they can find an end to their digging.

Do not take this lightly.  Faith is easily subverted.  Motivated digging – the kind involving map and compass – might rightly undermine any great system of faith.  No castle is so mighty that it cannot be defeated without firing a single arrow or heaving a battering ram.  Even so, the deeper the foundation, the less likely subversion becomes.  Faith in the Adonai is blown away as if by the wind, but faith in one’s own legs takes an army of shovels to subvert, and each small chunk broken forcefully from the earth takes effort.  

This is where those “intellectual” atheists demonstrate their rashness, parading their apistevist peacock tails and beating their chests.  They claim to never stop digging, to truly doubt all that can be doubted.  They demonstrate how intellectual they become when they claim to have spotted Earth’s molten underbelly after having heaved only two spades.  Yet these apistevists are no fools.  They do not in fact doubt their legs, their skin, their ears, or their eyes.  They only rest their rhetorical hyperboles on such notions proclaiming to fawning women and envious men that they are so virtuous, so strong and determined that if they were to want, they could dig and dig and never stop.  But what is more compelling is that in their ignorance, they believe that they already have!  They stand upon loose clay and declare that they have hit bedrock!

So, you self-proclaimed faithless, I doubt that you only doubt.  You walk upon the face of the Earth as does anyone else.   You are the evidence that faith and doubt are partners, that you can only build upon a dug foundation.  Cease your rhetoric; no longer pit partner against partner with fanciful falsehoods that faith commits to certitude or that doubt is all-encompassing.  You yourself undermine your claim and betray your paralysed Adonis.

Anyone with the inclination to respond to the author of this rebuttal can reach him on Twitter HERE . 

And now, will move on to Reddit.

Some might say the core of the massive digital universe that is online intellectual conversation. But to the platform’s credit, the other voices tend to be far more visible on its services than anywhere else. On this topic (Apistevism), and any other. 

This first post, I’ll admit, is such low hanging fruit that it is almost cheating. However, it highlights the quite ubiquitous problem within the secular debate community that is a lack of respect for how some choose to identify and align. The following excerpts are sourced HERE

you are seriously citing a man who probably would have qualified as an apistevist, as an authority on why apistevism is incoherant?

you might as well cite carl sagan to show that atheism in incoherant. 

This was also quoted in the comment area of the OP’s rebuttal (by the OP) along with the following quote from Bertrand Russell (for context).

Either the thing is true, or it isn’t. If it is true, you should believe it, and if it isn’t, you shouldn’t. And if you can’t find out whether it’s true or whether it isn’t, you should suspend judgment.

But you can’t… it seems to me a fundamental dishonesty and a fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity to hold a belief because you think it’s useful, and not because you think it’s true. 

Somewhat amusingly, this phenomenon is even present in OPs comment area, directed at himself (though he seems to not care). Someone telling him that he is just as much of an Atheist as NDT. NDT being Neil Degrasse Tyson, self identified agnostic but forcibly labeled atheist (wherever they have a hand in the information flow, anyway).

The OP’s response doesn’t really surprise me however, being that the OP engages in the very same behavior towards Bertrand Russell. 

Rather than rebuttaling people individually, I will try to craft responses towards arguments generally. It’s easier this way, since many of these things are embraced by so many.

1.) When it comes to identifying Apistevism as being incoherent, I personally do not need to point to any authority. I’ve written about the term 3 different times (4 now), and only discovered Russell now. As such, I would be careful before assuming that the quotes usage was as appeal to authority. 

It’s possible to come to your own conclusions, but adapt your technique to the environment you are in. Though the secular community at large tends to think themselves freethinkers, I have found them far more authority and ideology driven than they often care to admit. 

As such, the quote may be less of an appeal to authority and more of a tool to try and connect to the audience at hand. 

2.) I have said it before, and I will say it again . . . this disrespect of how people choose to identify is both unnecessary and utterly ridiculous. I have even argued it as intolerant. 

I understand the root of this train of thought. At least in the United States, the atheist cohort tends to be looked upon even less favorably than the scummiest of the scum within society (think pedophiles, rapists, and the like). Indeed, Atheism has an image problem. But the answer to that is not, and has never been, even secular segregation.  

A lacking of even a basic teaching of philosophy in education systems world wide has resulted in millions of atheists viewing said philosophy as being the only logical conclusion. When combined with various mental  behaviors unknowingly left behind by previous religious beliefs, the results can be . . . Interesting. Altering that paradigm is close to impossible. Which is why I don’t even try to do it anymore. Having said that however, the problems facing us as a species are very real. Something that many Atheists recognize, as there is a movement to build an Atheist voting block.

Which is where I come in and say, why does it have to be an explicitly Atheist voting block? Why not a Secular, Rational, Humanist, WHATEVER, voting block? Does the macro label REALLY matter that much?! I get that Atheism has an image problem. But that is small potatoes to the much larger problem that is LIFE ON EARTH! Like the rest of the left, the Atheist cohort  quibbles over  labels, whilst the religious right teams up and elects crooked Donald. 

We know that there exists an untapped potential of MILLIONS of voters that self acknowledge outside the boundaries of religious belief, but that also do not self identify explicitly as Atheist. Rather than condescending to (and thus annoying!) these people by referring to them as “Atheists in denial” (and other forms of Intolerant behavior), why not put self interest aside and unite as one.

I say self interest, because the Atheist community does have a lot of resources tied into it. Indeed, there are millions that just identicy under the label. They are not who I am talking about. 

What I am referencingl, are the many different types of Atheism specific (or oriented) organizations. Everything from political activism organizations, to online businesses like monetized YouTube channels, podcasts and merchandise distributers. I would not go as far as to saying that such economic reliance automatically eliminates impartiality. That said however, it’s hard not to take it into consideration.

3.) When it comes to the Russell quote, there may be more nuance than meets the eye. 

From what I understand (as a layman talking to a philosophy scholar by trade), Russell had started off on a mission of sorts to categorize the world in rational terms. Which explains the very black and white quote perfectly (and also why it’s so appealing to both Atheists and Apistevists). However, it would seem that Russell ran into the obvious roadblock that is, you can’t necessarily so easily compartmentalize the world. So like any good scholar, he acknowledged this and moved on. 

If this is an extreme oversimplification, feel free to let me know below. 

I think I have about picked that bone clean. Thus I will move on to another, sourced from the same reddit thread.

This one amuses me in its convenient usage of definitions. Dare I say, another common technique of the type of intellectual opposition were dealing with. 

This habit of playing fast and lose with definitions isn’t new. Many within the Nu-Atheism movement define Atheism as “A lack of belief in a God or God’s”. This is not only a new twist to the former “Denial of the existence of a God or God’s” definition, but also a definition that does not stand up to even basic scrutiny. I have explored this myself HERE , and im sure I’m not the only one.

Then there is the Atheism as a religion thing. Many Atheists (when fighting this notion)  exclude a part of that definition out of convenience. Or maybe, inconvenience. 

And here, we have fast and lose usage of the definition of faith. Though the paper “The Problems Of Philosophy” is supposed to entail all forms of unjustified belief, the Apistevist argues that such a critique is invalid due to their selective interpretation of the definition of faith. One would think it to be transparent that misuse of a term does not legitimize a philosophy. But apparently not. 

One person in the thread (just after this exchange) argues that my method of argumentation is not really effective, due to the 2 sides having at least 2 working definitions of the same word. I can’t grant this however, because even if side B argues on the basis of this alternative definition of a word, that definition is still incorrect. It’s not a problem of ambiguity in translation. It’s a problem of “That is inconvenient to my argument . . .Drop that part!”. 

Such semantics (if not flat out sophistry) would not be tolerated coming from a theist in favor of their stance of choice. I like to think that I am just holding EVERYONE to the same standard. 

Moving on, we come to this excerpt, again from the same reddit thread. In response to the inquiry “How is this different than Agnostic Atheist?”

an agnostic atheist can believe in homeopathy, ghosts, crystal healing, and all other kinds of magical woo, just not a god.

an apistevist couldn’t

My critique of this is solely based on my annoyance of useless labels.

In this regard, I am certainly more militant than most. I do not affix to myself, really any labels anymore. They (to me) represent the ultimate form of conformity, and the single biggest hurdle to our very civilization. Yes, this is why I take atheist intolerance so seriously. Because it is, in a sense, literally a life or death struggle. These days, in seeing the terror of the left (and in all honesty, almost everyone) after the recent election, one could almost be prone to concluding that it’s to late. But whether or not that is an overstatement, by and large, lesson NOT learned.

A  lesson that has come to me with the passage of time, is that people love boxes. Preformed and prefabricated, little assembly (or in this case, critical examination)  necessary. Labels make life easier.

Some may feel that I am assuming that all whom embrace labels are purely ideologically driven atomotons. Indeed, that is a generalization worth calling out. But I make the claim on solid ground. I do not just passively observe the many different movements and interactions of group’s online, but also in the real world. It interests me. Looking for patterns and trying to figure out what makes groups tick.

Rather than a contrarian, I prefer to be a fly on the wall. From an intellectual perspective, the “fly on the wall” approach is helpful for approaching any number of topics. First off, because emotion is out of the question. And 2ed, because I feel no ties, loyalty, or really any connection to any entity or ideology.  

I used to have various flair that I wore with pride (so want to see that movie now!).

 Agnostic Atheist, Liberal (or these days, Classical Liberal), progressive, pro choice, Metis and who knows how many more. I used to carry them around like the rest of the commons, mostly for the same reason as them (a feeling of obligated nesessity). But the more I begun to grow intellectually (one could say that I was a late bloomer), the more tight fitting that these labels became. Until the time came when I realized that growth would not be found in fighting to conform, it would be found in throwing out the moulds. It’s this vantage point that also enlightened me to the risk of these labels. Though regarded as a necessity for ease of discussion,  in ALL areas of discussion, these labels are more often than not just barriers. Chatter happens, but everyone has a side. Those that don’t, are typically assigned one. 

But though I caution against the practice of over-flairing, I don’t bother people just about where they visibly align themselves. It’s a  choice. 

Having said all of THAT however, is it REALLY necessary to add flair that tells people that your not prone to pseudo science? 

Though many questions come to mind when I hear or see “I am an atheist”, one of them has  never been “I wonder if *Atheist* believes in karma, or acupuncture, or Feng Shui?”. This seems more something to be taken care of on a whack-a-mole basis. Not to mention that I’m sure that even Apistevists have some leftovers that are embedded deep enough to be as of yet, undiscovered. An example from myself, was using the term “touch wood” without thinking in conversation (sometime ago). Practically as soon as it was out, my rational self said “Wait a minute!”.

It happens.

And thus concludes my 4th (and presumably, final) installment on the term and philosophy that is Apistevism (along witn a few other things). 

Posted in Apistevist, Opinion, Religion & Atheism | 17 Comments

Things That Annoy Me – Part 13

61.) Xenophobic (And Hypocritical!) Stupidity 

Around a year ago or so, a phenomenon known as #KetchupGate swept social media. For English and European readers, I am not referring to Richard Philips. Indeed, a quite dated reference. But best cover all my bases. 

As for what I am talking about, this western producer article from last March does a great job. 

It’s been weeks since Loblaws pulled French’s ketchup from its shelves and then backtracked after taking a social media battering.

However, Canadians continue to post selfies on social media proudly holding the ketchups that say “support Canadian farmers.”

Leave it to social media to wrap a Canadian flag around an American company and turn French’s into Canada’s ketchup.

Pretty much sums it up nicely. But, the cherry on top. 

Tomato producers in Leamington, Ont., do rely on the Highbury Canco facility that French’s contracts to produce its ketchup.

However, Loblaws is a Canadian company and its house brand, President’s Choice, has an excellent track record of supporting Canadian farmers. Most of the ingredients in President Choice products, including ketchup, are sourced in Canada, Sylvain Charlebois, professor of food distribution and policy at the University of Guelph, said in a recent CBC interview.

Social media users reacting without nuance? Whoda thought!

Loblaws said it pulled French’s ketchup because it wasn’t selling, which brings up an interesting aspect of this affair.

Reminds me of the former gluten free section of my workplace. At least a 20 foot section of an aisle was devoted entirely to this population segment, yet I ended up writing off and throwing away damn near all of it due to lack of sales. 

But you get rid of it, and suddenly even familier faces are asking (often in condescending tones) where the said section is. 

 IN THE LANDFILL. 

Read the label like every other gluten intolerant person that existed before you fad following morons came along and made a health problem a punchline. 

Calls to buy locally produced goods to support local economies has largely fallen on deaf ears, ever since cheaper foreign goods landed on local shelves.

However, the buy-local movement has a powerful new tool in social media, which provides the mechanism to prop up local companies by co-ordinating the purchasing power of its users.

Social media can make large companies tread lightly, but it remains to be seen how much social media will actually help local companies compete with large foreign and international companies.

Though supporting the local economy is arguably important (the key to a greener tommorow, and all that hippy stuff), one has to be weary of social media campaigns. The article above is a perfect example. People wrapped a Canadian flag around an american company, just for using  Canadian source materials already utilized by other companies botg past and present. ALL companies are dictated by economics, yet one is regarded highly just because of a meme. A meme that could be planted by anyone. 

Rest assured though. Kraft Hockeyville is in full swing, so I have no doubt that EVIL Kraft Heinz (the company that closed a plant, and temporarily screwed up the livelihood of those Onterio farmers) will sell a ton of ketchup. 

Because:

A.) Its the official ketchup of the NHL.

B.) “Whats this about Frenches Ketchup?”

C.) People are FUCKING stupid. Be it sucking off an American company engaged in business as usual, or lapping up blatent manipulation based around an extremely popular and  almost patriotic  passtime . . . people are STUpid! 

But hey . . . if you want to spend huge amounts on foods that are mostly  garbage to your health, have at it. At least the worst of you, in your conforming Jerseys, make yourselves easy to avoid!

Xenophobia

Many may wonder where I got this from. How is supporting your local (or in this case, national) economy a form of xenophobia? 

In all honesty, its a loose connection. One could conceivably make the case. But its also fairly easy to dismiss. Either way, the hypocrisy factor is much easier to demonstrate.  

Roughly half of Canadians who took part in a recent Nanos survey said that if Trump wants to play hard ball, they’d support imposing tariffs on U.S. items.

https://www.google.ca/amp/globalnews.ca/news/3162705/us-tariffs-increase-costs-of-living-canada/amp/

Unfortunately I didn’t participate in said survey. Had I of, I would not have been in the reactionary support side. Because my life is expensive enough as it is. Half of Canadians have so much disposable income that they can afford higher costs on . . . EVERYTHING? 

Or half of Canadians pulled a Brexit or a Trump protest vote, and didn’t think it though? I would bet money on the latter. 

What is more important however, is the reasoning behind the tarrif.  In response to Trumps protectionist patriotism (make imported items less desirable to US made goods), Canadians want to retaliate be essentially playing tit for tat. 

A stupid reaction not taking into consideration all circumstances? Certainly. But more importantly, a very hypocritical reaction on the part of many. 

Half of Canadians want a retaliatory tarrif. I would bet that almost as many Canadians  (if not more) joined the social media crusade to support an American ketchup brand (not to mention campaigning to save it from the loblaws chopping block). 

So, Canadians are allowed to prioritize home products over alternatives in the interest of keeping a few jobs here. But people of other nations are not supposed to do the same thing? 

Indeed, this does expose an obviois flaw in the free trade system (there will always be losers). But it should also serve as a good example of why the global economy requires more scope than the merely nationalistic (or patriot).

This is not even taking into consideration the increasing saturation of automation in all areas of business. If the ketchup factory is employing only a small number of actual people with machines replacing hundreds of others, does it really matter if the plant is in India, China, The United States or Canada?
62.) Atheistic Habits And Arguments That Need To Die 

Enough of this already. It’s not clever. It’s so painfully obvious to the point of being stupid. A bit like listening to these 2 gab for the benefit of an enthralled choir. 

Also, it’s funny that Atheism surcumbs to those very same 2 words, from a strictly logical veiwpoint. Yes, many get around that with a series of flair. 

I can’t be bothered anymore. My opinion on the matter. 

Fuck if I know. Next! 

63.) Fake News / The Alt Right / The Regressive Left

Though many of us have known of this phenomenon for arguably years (for me, in a more encompassing context than just news), it has now gone viral after this election. Like the Alt Right of which many of us also knew about for (at minimum!)  a year or 2, fake news only seemed to break the surface after becoming a genuine thorn in  the side of the traditional establishment machine. And like the Alt Right, both terms have become catch all pejoratives for opposition criticism. 

The Alt Right does have (and give credance to) a great many ridiculous people. As does the progressive left, more commonly known now in many circles as the regressive left. However, I am careful not to associate entire groups (beit writing off the entire Alt Right, or labeling the entire progressive movement as regressive) by its most prominent media figureheads. Simply because of the mentality of social media (if it clicks, it sticks!).  Nuanced and balenced conversation is not nearly as engaging as trashing Steve Bannon or Reza Aslan.

The combination of this popularity bias and knowledge of our increasingly  microtargeted digital world makes me extremly careful in evaluating trends in society in general. This is not to say that all popular conclusions are not without merit. I just also have to take into consideration that many (most?) others tend to be ignorant to how much power an algorithm can have on ones world view. While we all likely know of many  EXTREMELY notable examples of this in our easily led friends and family, anyone that is not paying much attention is vulnerable. You don’t have to be stupid. You just have to be a typically busy person with a passive (but continuous) social media presence. 

It all comes down to digital literacy. Society has always done a shitty job of preparing its citizens for the increasingly complex and ever changing digital world (aside from often idiotic and detrimental reactionary laws, anyway). And that vacuum seems to be becoming increasingly visible, in often completly unexpected ways. Though as always, its affects are being scapegoated. 

That exploration of complexity aside, there are many increasingly thoughtless usages of fake news, Alt Right and regressive left. 

Something that is written from an opposition (or just ANOTHER) point of view than yours does not automatically mean its fake news.

Someone that has diffrent ideals than you (be it in the context of the right or the left) is not automatically a member of the alt right or the regressive left. Though this would seem to be transparent to anyone with a brain, I see this all over the internet. From comment sections on youtube and elsewhere (even one of my posts), to AP news retractions on Twitter. 

Don’t be stupid. Think before you post the stupid bullshit you put all of 2 nanoseconds of thought into.

64.) Tom Cruise \ John Travolta

An interesting thing . . .in the past, neither of these celebrities really meant anything to me. I know them from some movies I had seen, but that’s it really. Though my family was fairly culturally sheltered growing up (people were SHOCKED I didn’t see Ghostbusters until my mid twenties. OMG!), our celebrity favorites were more Jackie Chan (those mad skills), Robin Williams (what’s not to like?), and maybe Danny Devito (his part as the greedy rich guy in many movies, my favorite being Ruthless People, was always good for a laugh). 

Before, I didn’t really have anything negative to say about either Cruise or Travolta. Well, with the exception of the  Greece aftermath. While not QUITE as likely to make me want to swallow lead (as an alternative to watching it again), it’s a close 2ed. 

This changed however, after seeing the HBO documentary Going Clear however. Getting the inside scoop (or, as close as you are going to get, anyway) to the inner workings, insanity and criminality of L. Ron Hubbard’s dianetics based brainchild. And also learning that it be likely almost impossible for high profile members Cruise and Travolta to NOT know about some (many?) of the more underhanded activities of the church (including false imprisonment, amoung others). 

They are likely not the only high profile members that choose to take the perks that come with being a very high profile Scientologist over the ethical alternative (doing the right thing!). It again, goes back to human instinct. 

It’s still not a valid excuse however. Travolta, Cruise and others complacent in this are still garbage people, unworthy or my (or ANYONE’S!) respect or attention (let alone money!). 

Fuck John Travolta. Fuck Tom Cruise.

And most of all, FUCK L Ron Hubbard and his fraudulent organization of thieves. 

65.) Collateral (2004 film)

Fuck both Tom Cruise AND Milo Yiannopoulos for ruining this film for me! 

Speaking of Milo . . . Has he ever done anything with those charitable donations yet? 

Set up a charity? A transparent bank account? 

Anything?

Posted in Opinion, Things That Annoy Me | Leave a comment

S%#t I Wish (Some) Atheists Would Stop Doing (And Saying) – (Patheos)

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/st-i-wish-some-atheist-would-stop-doing-and-saying/?utm_source=[!]%20Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NL%20Best%20of%20Patheos%20&utm_content=5698

How delightful. A nice softball to start the year off with.

So you’re an atheist.

Great. I’m a Christian.

They do often across like that, don’t they. Wearing the atheism label out-front and with pride. Because “theists do it, so why shouldn’t I?”. Even though those theists will not be moved by this, and most other people (uninvolved on either side) will be annoyed at facing either extreme unexpectedly. 

Don’t get me wrong, one can embrace whatever labels they choose. Just don’t be shocked if you are treated in the same manner as a religious zealot. Because in a way, you kind of are.

Atheism is not a religion!

Yeah . . . fuck off. 

Here’s the thing: I don’t have an issue with you. Some of my best friends are atheists, and over the course of the last few years, I’ve been purposeful about building bridges with the atheist community– because you know what? There’s a lot we actually have in common when you move past the question of the existence of a divine being. 

Excellent. 

I also like to live life beyond such labels. A good lesson for zealots on both sides. 

Now, I get it. My tribe makes bridge building hard because we’ve got a pretty decent sample size of obnoxious people. Trust me, they bug the daylights out of me too. In fact, I make my living by writing about all the things they’re wrong about (which means I never have a slow day).

Ditto. 

Those on the atheist side are often even worse than yours since being on the side of reason and logic often results in a mind incapable of taking ANY criticism (legit or silly) without assuming condescending talking points (like any good ideologue). 

They point to theists as being devoid of logic, reason, rationality, nuance, and every other intellectual buzzword. But many of them could use a look in the mirror. 

As if that will ever happen. 

But here’s the deal: While I’ve focused near-exclusively on trying to clean house on my side of the fence, I have to be honest– your team has rabid fundamentalists, too. And those folks? Well, they make it hard even for a liberal Christian like myself to find common ground to work from.

So for any of my atheist friends out there who’d like to do what I do– change your own culture from the inside out, here’s a few things I wish you’d get your folks to stop saying (or doing). 

Believe me, I know. Trying to bring order and unity to my own house (the secular collective of stances) has proved more difficult (and fruitless!) then all of the digital atheist VS Theist debates I have ever seen, or been a part of. 

But yet, I have not given up entirely yet. Because its not just important to me, its important to ALL OF US. 

Please stop saying or insinuating that we’re a bunch of uneducated or unenlightened idiots. 

I’m not arrogant, but I have a hard time engaging in dialogue with an atheist who begins the conversation by stating or acting like we’re uneducated, unenlightened idiots simply because we believe in God, in some form or another. Do we have idiots in my camp? Sure thing– but it’s not a belief in God that makes them that way, just like it’s not a lack of belief in God that makes some of your folks ignorant or obnoxious.

Let me give an example: when you paint us all with this broad brush and assume negative qualities about us simply because we are theists of some sort, it feels the way I imagine you feel when you hear a theist explain that you have no morals because you’re an atheist and thus have no foundation for morality.

It’s just dumb to make such sweeping assumptions about an individual human being based upon where they stand on the God vs. no God question. You don’t like it when we do it to you, and it is equally as off-putting when your peeps do it to us.

Don’t be to off put. Many atheists act in this condescending way, even towards other secularists. Hell, even intellectual superiors. 

Its what happens when you’re sure that  you’re on the side of reason. Everyone else is below you. 

I should know. I am on the side of reason. You all are below me. 

Please stop insisting that we read our Bible like right-wing fundamentalists.

I get it– there’s some weird stories in the Bible. Plenty of verses to make fun of. But I just want to bang my head into the table when I see some of my atheist friends quote some of these Bible passages as if the only way to read them is the way a fundamentalist would read them. It is amazing to me the way both conservative fundamentalists and many atheists insist on reading and interpreting the Bible with the same rigid literalism that takes into account almost nothing regarding literary genre, authorial intent, context, original languages, etc.

If you want to bring up issues with the Bible, have at it– but at least read a bit of scholarship on a passage before quoting it as if you understand exactly what it meant, what it means, and how a good Christian should apply it. That’s the type of unenlightened, ignorant nonsense that fundamentalists do with the Bible, and I know you’d hate to be associated with them. 

Its annoying to me when an atheist uses a bible quote to back an argument, period. Its one thing if you are illustrating hypocrisy. But as a method of debate . . . come on. 

You are an atheist. You have figured out that scriptures is about as accurate a depiction of reality as a roll of toilet paper. Thus, pick a new tactic! 

Having never read the bible beyond the pillars of salt story (my grandmother gave me a picture bible when I was a kid), a few years ago I started reading again, figuring it important to know what I was debunking. 

Then I realized, no. Why waste mental space on information that I know is useless. The books are essentially old time fairy tales that are still given credence. End of story.

Please stop referring to our belief system(s) as fairy tales.

I’m not sure the best way to break this down, but here’s my beef: following the religious/ethical views written by Moses (Torah), or the teachings of Jesus (love your neighbor, love your enemies), is not the same thing as going to Disneyland and believing that Mickey is actually a real-life talking mouse. It’s not the same thing as believing that there actually was an old woman who lived in a shoe who had so many children that she didn’t know what to do.

Religious/ethical beliefs and fairy tales are not same thing. Every time I hear this “fairy tale” insult my inner Samuel L. Jackson voice kicks in and screams, “It’s not in the same ballpark. It’s not even the same $&#@ game!” (Pulp Fiction reference for you.) 

For the record, the 2ed last sentence in my previous commentary was completely coincidental. As it happens, it betrays my personal feelings on this request. 

No.

Do all the mental gymnastics and hijinks you want to convince yourself that you are different from a Voldemort worshiper. You’re one and the same in my book. 

Also, cult classic or not, not a big fan of Pulp Fiction. And not just because Scientology apologist John Travolta is a big star in it either. 

Maybe lay off the whole, “religion hasn’t done any good for humanity” type of argument, because it’s obnoxiously untrue.

I get it, we religious people have done a lot of douchey things in the course of history, but that’s not all we’ve done– and to make a broad and obnoxious statement as if we have never contributed to the good of society as a result of our religious beliefs is just ignorant nonsense. In fact, in many eras it’s been religious people leading the way.

Put a list of names of charitable organizations into a hat and pull one out– there’s a pretty good chance that organization is actually a religious one, because religious people are among the most financially charitable from all categories. Modern hospitals? Those were largely Christian endeavors. Orphan care? That’s largely a Christian-led movement. Relief work in countries affected by famine and natural disasters? Throw a dart and you’ll land on a religious organization leading the way in places others don’t go.

I’m not even going to list all the good that’s done in the name of religion, because you have google and a brain. But suffice to say, the idea that religion makes or has made no positive impact on society is ignorant and lazy thinking. 

The religious do tend to be responsible for a lot of good in the world. Though the author is quick to tie this altruism to religious values, I tend to credit simple human decency above all else. Because no matter the ideology, human traits ALWAYS come first. Hence you can have good and well valued Christians, and immoral Christians. 

And on the topic of Christian charity (or any faith based charity really), how many just exist as tools of indoctrination? 

“You can have this bread, but let us first read from Leviticus” type of thing. 

 So, back to the beginning: you’re an atheist and I’m a theist. That doesn’t mean we have to be natural born enemies. In fact, I would argue that both sides have reasonable arguments for why they believe what they believe.

When we move past that, there’s a world of commonality just waiting to be discovered– because a human being is infinitely more than what they believe or don’t believe about God. People are complex and cannot be reduced to assumptions or stereotypes without completely dehumanizing them.

But to discover that– to get to that place where we can see the humanity in one another, and begin finding areas of common ground, we need to stop viewing the other as if they represent the worst their tribe has to offer. Both sides have their fundamentalists and antagonists, but they don’t represent the whole of either of us.

Not every Christian is Ken Ham building a modern ark to transport dinosaurs. Not every atheist is Richard Dawkins or the anonymous internet troll who dehumanizes people of religion while acting as if they are morally superior.

I’ll keep working with my tribe to try to reform it from the inside, but these are just a few things I wish we could dial-back within your tribe.

If we work on individually reforming our own cultures, we just might find a different future for all of us. 

I agree that now, more than ever, we need to try and bridge build. It’s a big part of the reason why I quit the religion debate circuit in the first place. Seeing it as a waste of time, when efforts could and should be focused elsewhere. Yes, there are many religiously based problems in society that still must be tackled (some more pressing than others). And (for the Atheists), the whole label of Atheism tends to be quite misunderstood. 

Yet, when compared to a problem like climate change or nuclear proliferation (let alone  someone like Donald Trump having access to these weapons in mere days), those problems for all intents and purposes . . . don’t matter. 

And really, this goes for all the different groups in which we like to split ourselves up. Tribalism breeds self interest. Which worked fairly well in the past. But we’re beyond that point in EVERY way now. I we don’t grow up, it’s the end of the line.

To quote my Rockie mountain residing best friends opinion on the Trump presidency:

“We done son”

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