Non-Momentary Lapse of Reason

12 04 2010

You have achieved discontinuity of meaning.”

I find myself shouting those words at my television a lot these days, along with a great deal of choice invective in a variety of languages. The sheer number of brain-dead, mouth-breathing wastes of genetic material who manage to get media coverage is literally staggering. Where do I begin?

How about the Hutaree- the apocalyptic fundamentalist christian doomsday cult militia who were so totally insane that other militias turned them in to the cops? It turns out that these stellar examples of the “master race” were collecting coffee cans to make explosively-formed projectiles. They discovered a hitch in their cunning plan when it turned out that the coffee cans in question did not- in fact- contain any metal. These people are stupid beyond belief- not merely because they are trained by their loathsome version of christianity to be credulous dolts and therefore have little idea of how science works, but because they believed that murdering a few dozen policemen and their mourning relatives would somehow bring about their apocalyptic war against the heathens.

Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is none more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory in itself than this thing called Christianity. Too absurd for belief, too impossible to convince, and too inconsistent for practice, it renders the heart torpid or produces only atheists or fanatics. As an engine of power, it serves the purpose of despotism, and as a means of wealth, the avarice of priests, but so far as respects the good of man in general it leads to nothing here or hereafter.” – Thomas Paine

Next we have a “retired” politician telling her fellow low foreheads that America doesn’t need “this snake-oil science stuff“. I have not yet made up my mind about anthropogenic climate change- largely because no follower of Saint AlGore has yet been able to explain the Medieval Warm Period in the context of their religion. That said, the rabid anti-intellectualism implicit in her comments ought to strike a chill in the heart of all Americans. For those of you who slept through their high-school science classes, here’s a couple of clue chits for you: The only field of endeavor in which the US is dominant today is science and research. The US has dominated the sciences and medicine for decades, and this pre-eminence attracts the best and brightest from around the world to our universities and research centers. Science is practically the only thing we can reliably claim to be the best at, but this political hack and her fundamentalist cronies seem to want to turn back the clock on science because they don’t like the answers science gives them.

Geology shows that fossils are of different ages. Paleontology shows a fossil sequence, the list of species represented changes through time. Taxonomy shows biological relationships among species. Evolution is the explanation that threads it all together. Creationism is the practice of squeezing one’s eyes shut and wailing “Does not!” – Author Unknown

Speaking of the American Taliban, the former head of the Texas school textbook commission is famously quoted as saying, “Someone has to stand up to the experts!” Sorry, sparky. Your personal relationship with a dead jewish guy does not trump the evidence easily available to anyone with an open mind. It ought to be enough to see that the garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies in the bottom of it, too (to paraphrase Douglas Adams). Why is it easier for these loons to believe easily-debunked fables when the truth is much more interesting? There’s an entire universe out there for us to learn about and explore, but these religious fuckwits insist on fixing their heads firmly inside their collective rectums because they like the view so much better. Worse, they insist that everyone else has to be limited to the same field of view.

I am treated as evil by people who claim that they are being oppressed because they are not allowed to force me to practice what they do. – D. Dale Gulledge

Lest I be accused of “bashing christianity”, let us examine another pack of rabidly batshit fundies. The Hasidic community in Brooklyn has their beards in a tangle over the fact that “scantily clad” females ride their bicycles down the public thoroughfares near their self-created ghetto.The Hasidim in question are the descendants of a large community which moved to Brooklyn in a body to get away from the persecution they experienced in Europe- just after the end of the second World War. The irony of the situation must be totally lost on these fundamentalist ass-hats: they came to Brooklyn because they wanted the freedom to practice their religion as they saw fit, but they now insist on denying those same freedoms to everyone around them. Unfortunately for the bearded ones, those public thoroughfares are public fucking thoroughfares. So long as the laws of the city, county, and state of New York are not broken, they’re just going to have to put up with it.

We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart. – H.L. Mencken

What do all of these episodes have in common? Fundamentalism. There is something terribly wrong in the way these people think and see the world. To the fundamentalists, perfection is just a round the last corner. They all want to live in a free society, but they only want those freedoms for themselves. Everyone else has to behave and believe exactly as they do, or else. Here is the core disconnect between the religious fundamentalist and any moron of average intelligence: Any mass-murderer can ask for forgiveness on his death bed and go to heaven, but Ghandi burns forever in hell because he was not christian. How about this- if God doesn’t like the way I live, let him tell me, not you.

Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense. – Chapman Cohen

These are not isolated incidents. They are all part of a growing trend toward fundamentalism here in this country that is by nature destructive to American ideals and individual liberties. The religious neo-barbarians are all intent on destroying the very core of our civilization. We, the People, need to exercise our own rights to free speech and free association to counter the religiously deluded at every turn. These creatures must be confronted with facts and logic whenever they spew their lies and innuendo in public. Their histrionics and stupidity must be countered with rational discourse and firm resolve. Those who refuse to submit to the religious thought police must stand united against the darkness those fanatics seek to draw across our country.

It is very important not to mistake hemlock for parsley, but to believe or not believe in God is not important at all.  – Denis Diderot

I will not submit to the will of any god- or the followers of any god. I will make my own way … and leave a trail for others to follow if they wish. I will not force my ideas upon any other, nor demand they believe as I do. All I ask in return is the same privilege.

I do not support religion because it demands that we give up our most important human asset, the ability to question. It demands that we simply believe. Isn’t that true of any dictator, of any totalitarian society? Insofar as social development is concerned, nothing is of greater importance than the human function of questioning. Questioning led to the development of civilization. – Vladimir Pozner

Current status: Profoundly irked

Current music: Free Will by Rush

Hearts and Minds

4 01 2010

Be afraid. Be very afraid. The rabid fundamentalist christians are very close to getting their version of reality included into every textbook in America for the next decade or so.

Read this article, and weep for the future of our nation.

Because Texas (pronounced takes-ass) has a set of rules which mandate all schools in that state use the same textbooks, and further has rules which have allowed the fundie-loonie Governor to pack the board which approves those textbooks with his batshit crazy fundamentalist cronies, wholesale re-writing of the past may soon be required reading in your child’s school. Texas would normally not have quite so much influence, since California is an even larger market and tends to pull textbook publishers back toward the center. However,  California’s economic Chernobyl means that they will not be purchasing textbooks for another five years at the earliest. This in turn means that any textbook publisher who wishes to make money for the next couple of years has to comply with the religious fuckwits who control the textbook appropriation process in Texas.

Despite the fact that we have scads of hard evidence indicating that the Universe is roughly fourteen billion years old, the new science textbooks will not have this tidbit of information, thanks to a small group of hardcore religious extremists in Texas who believe it to be their duty to cram their pigheaded, willful ignorance down the throats of your children.

It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.

Heinlein’s words have been proven true repeatedly- most recently by the Taliban. The only differences between the Taliban in Afghanistan and the christian loonies in this country are language and dress code. The fundamentalist christians gripping the hilt of this subtle dagger do not even bother to conceal their goals. They boast of their belief that their god wants them to conquer this country, and then the world.

But first, they will try to enslave the minds of your children. They will use America’s traditional open-mindedness and laws against us, and enshrine their version of reality in your childrens’ textbooks. I’ve been saying for years that these willful ignorami are the enemies of our civilization- is anybody listening?

America’s current status as a world power was grown by our farmers; dreamed up by our scientists; built by our engineers and technicians; and paid for by our bankers, industrialists, and workers (in one coin or another). Maintaining that status is- and will continue to be- dependent upon scientific and technical progress. That key scientific and technical progress is in turn dependent upon new generations learning the lessons taught by the scientists of the past, then adding their own unique additions and advances to the works of those giants who broke new ground- from Copernicus to Galileo to Newton to the Curies to Bohr to Einstein to Hawking.

But that apparently isn’t good enough for these religious pinheads. They would seemingly prefer that we dumped everything that didn’t conform to their precious holy-book-written-down-from-the-oral-traditions-of-desert-sheep fuckers.

“If all the achievements of scientists were wiped out tomorrow, there would be no doctors but witch doctors, no transport faster than horses, no computers, no printed books, no agriculture beyond subsistence peasant farming. If all the achievements of theologians were wiped out tomorrow, would anyone notice the smallest difference?” -Richard Dawkins, in his book, The Emptiness of Theology.

That quote from Richard Dawkins is not precisely correct, of course, since many of the early scientific pioneers were religious (particularly Newton), and some were actual clergymen. The point, however, remains valid. The barbarians won’t be happy until we return to some non-existent Golden Age of Christian America- probably based upon a poor understanding of life in the early 19th century. All of our scientific and cultural progress since that mythical time must make way for the greater glory of their desert storm deity. These old white guys are deeply unhappy with uppity furriners and colored folks disturbing their precious little dystopian ideal White nation. Check out the following quote from the article I linked earlier:

Barton and Peter Marshall initially tried to purge the standards of key figures of the civil rights era, such as César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall, though they were forced to back down amid a deafening public uproar. They have since resorted to a more subtle tack; while they concede that people like Martin Luther King Jr. deserve a place in history, they argue that they shouldn’t be given credit for advancing the rights of minorities. As Barton put it, “Only majorities can expand political rights in America’s constitutional society.” Ergo, any rights people of color have were handed to them by whites—in his view, mostly white Republican men.

If this doesn’t bother you, you probably aren’t paying attention. It bothers the Hell out of me. These pernicious fuckwits are hell-bent on destroying the very soul of America and replacing it with the Republican Plantation of Jesusland, a slightly more technologically advanced version of the Taliban’s thirteenth-century paradise on Earth which will be nonetheless equally destructive. If you aren’t white, male, and christian, you just won’t matter.  Black, asian, and hispanic minorities will be graciously permitted to till the fields and work in the factories, while women will return to being sexual commodities for their “betters”. Non-christians will be economically and physically persecuted until they conform, emigrate, or die.

When will the people of this country realize that they’re allowing the barbarians in our midst to undermine what we (the People) have spent the last 230+ years building? Why do we allow these willful idiots to spew their nonsense in public without constant justifiable denunciation and opprobrium? They make no secret of what they want. Are we to sit idly by and let them build their racist theocracy upon the smoldering ruins of our flawed but wonderful republic?

Judging by the apparent total lack of interest in dealing with these morons … I believe the answer is probably yes.

Current status: Outraged

Current music: Seen All Good People by Yes