Sunday, December 19, 2010

Syvlia Browne fans - why so quiet?

A quick look at my Sitemeter statistics at the foot of the page tells me that by far the overwhelming number of visitors to my blog are people who search for some variation of "Sylvia Browne 2010 predictions". And I mean overwhelming. In fact, almost every visitor to the blog comes from someone searching for Sylvia Browne's 2010 predictions. Yet none of them seem to stay very long once they get to my page talking about Sylvia Browne's 2010 "predictions" and only one person has ever left a comment that tried to defend her.

Why is that? No-one wants to defend the indefensible? They don't like having their delusions shattered so disappear in a huff? They think I'm wrong? They have absolute proof of Browne's powers so ignore the ranting of a know nothing skeptic? Or are they scared? Are they scared that the house of cards they built and called their belief system will come tumbling down if just for one moment they actually have to think about what they believe? Is it because deep down they know I am right about Browne and people like her?

Are these people so scared of having to think that they run away every time they are challenged?

Why are Sylvia Browne's fans so quiet?

Here's what I think - Browne's fans don't have an answer to what skeptics say about her, so they just ignore the criticisms and hope they go away because they can't handle the truth. Reality is just to scary for them.

Browne fans: prove me wrong. Have the guts to actually say something that isn't a childish insult or unthinking devotion.

I dare you.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How well do you really think accommadationism works?

Today is the 55th anniversary of Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her bus seat in Montgomery, Alabama - a pivotal event in the civil rights movement that sparked the Montgomery bus boycott. So, whilst I was sitting in traffic listening to NPR on the subject I started to think about the blogging topic that's been on my mind lately - accommadationism and the whole "You're doing it wrong, don't be a dick" crowd.

And it occurred to me: where would most successful social reform movements be if they had listened to their own versions of the "Be nice, not pushy. Don't be rude. Couldn't you just talk to the more moderate of our opponents." people?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

How can you call yourself a skeptic if...

... you accept things on faith or believe in the supernatural? The answer is, I believe, you can't. And you don't get to call yourself a critical thinker either. What you would be is a hypocrite. Or, maybe a little more charitably, a part timer. At best, you'd be someone capable of fooling yourself.

Thinking about writing this post is what prompted me to write yesterday's post as well, and its all about getting my thoughts down on this whole silly shit about accommadationism and people trying to exclude atheism from skepticism, and those people trying to define who the real skeptics are and who gets to join in and how they should do it (this last I covered yesterday). So here goes.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Fuck you. And other thoughts on being 'a dick'

Not for the first time I am late to the party on this.

For quite some time there's been an argument raging around the skeptical blogosphere that comes down to, as Dr. Phil Plait (the Bad Astronomer) describes it, "Don't be a dick." You can find the talk he gave on the subject on YouTube, in three parts. Basically, it's an argument about tone - why do we have to be mean? Why are we insulting? Why do we use bad words? Your demeanour gets in the way, why can't you be nice when shattering people's ignorance and delusions?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Really America? I mean, really?

The 2010 midterm elections in the USA have, at different times and with varying measure, filled me with despair, disgust and disillusionment. I've also been reminded of three quotes from two great men:

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
                                                                                                                -- Albert Einstein

"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else."
                                                                                                            -- Winston Churchill
And finally:
"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."
                                                                                                               -- Winston Churchill

Unfortunately, I don't see much of the right thing happening, plenty of the same thinking that got us into this mess and then democracy in all its horrendous glory.

One bunch of right wing nuts spent eight years fucking everything up, and then a large portion of the voting population of the USA gave the next bunch of slightly less right wing nuts just 2 years to turn absolutely everything around, and when that didn't happen instantly they went for a bunch of extremely right wing nuts as if that would fix things. Hence the ridiculous corporate entity referred to as the Tea Party, brought to you by the Koch brothers. Grassroots political movement my arse. Like everything else in this country, it's all about money. The Tea Party isn't fighting the establishment, it IS the establishment. Same shit, different name.

Trade deficit under Bush? Going up. Unemployment under Bush? Going up. Wall Street bailout that everyone was so angry about? Bush administration (although Obama added to it). The National Debt the Tea Baggers were so worried about? Doubled under Bush. Where was the outrage then? If it was the ideology of rampant free markets and relaxed regulation that contributed to the current economic disaster, how would a bunch of people even more fanatical about said ideology help? If all these economic woes are the cause for the backlash against Obama's administration then where were these champions of America when Bush fucked it all up in the first place?

If it looks like shit and smells like shit, it probably isn't chocolate.

How is it that problems that took 8 years to create under Bush and the Republicans are now being blamed on Obama and the Democrats after just 2?

The answer, it would seem, is that a large proportion of the American voting population is either irredeemably stupid or shamefully ignorant. Or possibly both. How else can politicians get away with campaign adverts that are blatant lies AND still have people vote for them? How else can people proclaiming their lack of experience make them seem like ideal candidates for the job? How else can a politician that doesn't know what the First Amendment is even get on the ballot anywhere, never mind be a serious contender? How else could a misogynist fascist prick like Ken Buck come a very close second in a race for a position in the Senate? OK, fascist might be an exaggeration, but not by much. How else can the people that caused this mess be exonerated and greeted like saviours?

But the Democrats have to accept some of the blame - they didn't vote or didn't engage their base and get them out. And of course, Obama couldn't ever live up to the hype, he's a politician. Business as usual. In the end what you had was old privileged white people voting for privileged white people. And privileged white people came out the winners. What a surprise. I thought a couple of weeks ago that the Democrats were being too soft but I was wrong. The Democrats basically just rolled over and died. If you don't vote, you get the government you deserve.

And as for it being about the economy? Fuck off. If it was, then shouldn't the $4 billion dollars spent on campaign ads be a source of shame? At a time when unemployment falls somewhere between 9 and 20%, depending on how it is measured, shouldn't that tell you that the political system here is broken? Politicians spend $4 billion dollars on TV ads packed with lies and slurs whilst also claiming to have the economic interests of Americans at heart? Never mind the secretive nature of the people behind most of the adverts - this campaign has all the hallmarks of being bought and paid for by big business. This was not democracy in action, it was the vested interests of big business and special interest groups doing what they do best. Buying people and buying votes.

As a non-voting resident I have one question: why do you put up with this? As a result of this election I have to ask:

What the fuck is wrong with this country, and how long will it take it to try everything else?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

You know what else isn't in the Constitution, Christine?

Carbine, Handgun, Rifle ('the right to bear arms' who could mistake that?), Abortion, God, Jesus, Christian, Gay, Lesbian, Homosexual, Marriage, Pornography, Torture, Lord appears only in the common contemporary usage as part of the date, the phrase "Death Penalty", the phrase "Don't ask, don't tell",  the phrase "Special Rendition", the phrase "Patriot Act", the phrase "Intelligent Design",  the phrase "Tax Cut", the phrase "Tea Party", the phrase "War on Terror", the phrase "Everyone has the right to own an automobile", the phrase "Everyone has the right to shop where they want to", the phrase "Everyone has the right to choose which doughnut is their favourite",

These exact phrases or words don't appear either, what was your point Christine? I confess, I don't really see what she was trying to get at other than trying to make herself look stupid and appealing to the sorts of people who are likewise ignorant of the Constitution.

Was she trying to say that since these exact words aren't in the Constitution it has nothing to say about the principle outlined by them? That since the exact words "seperation of church and state" are not present in the Constitution or the Amendments to it that there is nothing in them about that subject, that the Constitution does not guarantee the separation of church and state? As far as I can see that would rule out an awful lot, wouldn't it? It would rule out an awful lot of things that Republicans and Tea Baggers seem to hold dear, in fact.

Or was Christine O'Donnell really trying to imply that there is nothing regarding the separation of church and state in the Constitution at all, not just the specific words? Is she that, well, ignorant? Shouldn't someone who is going to take an oath to uphold the Constitution actually understand what is in it? Indeed, if you watch the video of the debate she does in fact seem surprised that the first amendment does guarantee the separation of church and state. She doesn't seem to know about one of the most important aspects of the first amendment. Wow.

Or was she simply making, as she is now trying to claim, the banal point that those words just don't appear in the Constitution? Yes we know, we can read to - why even make that point as if it was important? The word "buttock" doesn't appear either, what is the relevance? Saying those words don't appear is hardly a rebuttal to someone pointing out the nature of the establishment clause, so it just seems childish.

Here is a crazy idea. Could it be you actually have to read the Constitution and its Amendments in order to actually understand what is in them, rather than just believing what some people equally as ignorant have told you is in them (like Rush Limbaugh)? Let me explain it for you (and I've mentioned it in the past). Yes Christine, on the purely superficial and banal level you are right, those words don't appear, but the exact wording of the First Amendment establishes the principle of separation of church and state, and the framers of the Constitution were quite clear about it, as the MSNBC article points out.

The First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" means that Congress stays out of religion. The state cannot interfere with the church. The two shall remain separate. The state can favour no particular religion. The state shall remain seperate from the church - it was a principle Jefferson and Madison held dear, and fully intended.

To say otherwise proves you ignorant and unfit for office.

Not that this is a surprise. Please tell me people see through all of this, that the right wing isn't going to make massive gains in the upcoming elections. PLEASE.

If only there was a deity to pray to....

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Don't talk bollocks, cancer isn't 'man made' and did exist in the ancient world

Every now and then when I'm looking for something to write about I come across or I'm sent something so spectacularly stupid that really a new word needs to be invented to describe it, and this article on a study published in Nature Review: Cancer is no exception. I am fairly certain that just by reading it a portion of my intelligence was sucked away, So thanks to my brother David and his friend Clare for making me stupiderer.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Focusing on your goals - it is really not a new thing

This is a long playing record for me:

Perhaps it is because I am not a cynical, greedy and uncaring author willing to make a quick buck off the desperate, lazy, uncritical or grief stricken but I really don't understand how it has been possible to take this very old idea:

Focus on your goals

And turn it into something that everyone seems to think is a brand new idea, whilst part of the selling point of your fake brand new idea is that it is indeed an old idea that has been around for ages.

If nothing else, I have to admire the sheer brass bollocksness of getting away with it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Nazis, atheists and a Pope

With a title like that, you know this one has got to be interesting. Right? OK, maybe not. But this post will put me in the schizophrenic position of kicking the Pope in the arse and then picking him up and fetching him a cup of tea afterwards.

It may or may not have escaped your notice that the Pope recently visited the UK, an event that had the BBC falling all over itself to cover favourably. Anyway, whilst the child rape covering up pontiff was there he made a statement that was guaranteed to set off both the atheist and the historian in me.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Coexistence won't help as much as you think it will

Well OK, maybe not you, exactly, but certainly the people who sport those silly 'coexist' stickers on their cars.

Here's the culprit, in case you have no idea what I am talking about:

Now I know what you're thinking, "How can he possibly be against a bumper sticker that promotes religious tolerance and encouraging people of different faiths to understand rather than kill each other?" So let me answer you.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Looking for an excuse to be a psychopath or a sociopath? Try "The Secret".

It's no secret (see what I did there) that skeptics don't like the Law of Attraction or "The Secret". That's because it is complete and total bollocks invented by charlatans to fleece money out of people who don't bother to stop and really think about it, but who do like its feel good message.

But it is more than that as well. It's the type of attitudes it promotes and the implications of its claims. It also attracts a lot of complete wankers to it. Take this recent anonymous commenter who showed up on a previous Secret post I'd made.

This is what they had to say, the quote lifted right from Wikipedia:

"In a letter written shortly before his escape from the Glenwood Springs jail, Bundy said "I have known people who...radiate vulnerability. Their facial expressions say 'I am afraid of you.' These people invite abuse... By expecting to be hurt, do they subtly encourage it?""

Yea it is the victim's fault. Shut the fuck up.

Yes that's right folks - this defender of "The Secret" uses a quote from Ted Bundy to defend it. Ted Fucking Bundy. Unless this is a Poe, you really couldn't make this shit up.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I have a confession to make...

... I'm an atheist and skeptic and I'm happy. I know that this may come as a shock to some. I know that some will simply find their brains oozing out of their ears at their simple inability to process this fact. I know that some may find it just heart breaking that someone who doesn't buy into their beliefs (of whatever stripe) could function as a well rounded and happy individual.


I don't need to believe in capricious, conceited, spiteful, angry, hateful, divisive, unimaginative invisible and/or unknowable imaginary sky fairies of any kind to find my life fulfilling. Or to live it morally. Or to have fun living it. Or to find meaning and purpose in living it.

I don't need to believe in your particular brand of idiotic anti science, anti medicine, touchy feely, woo woo gibberish to be happy, or to feel loved, or to find meaning or purpose. Or to be healthy.

I don't need to believe what YOU believe to find meaning, happiness, purpose or peace for ME.

Is that really so hard to understand?

I mean really, get over yourself. Because that is really what it is about isn't it? You. You think that you have got it all right and so the key to being awesome is basically to be you. No thanks, I'll pass.

I'm happy that you go all dewy eyed at the thought of a god, just don't assume that I must be a pent up ball of rage, hate and immorality because I like to point and laugh at you for doing so. First, its insulting. Second, its patronising. Third, I'll be fucked if I'll take crap from anyone who takes seriously the idea of an invisible super being who created the entire Universe in seven days, or that they can cure illness by covering your body in needles and sending positive thoughts your way.

Bollocks to that.

What prompted me to write this was a Facebook update I'd made:

For the record - why the fuck would I want to raise my kids in any format based on this bloody book:

Scientific and historical inaccuracy, genocide, rape, incest, every kind of bigotry you can imagine and swearing allegiance to an imaginary invisible sky fairy who demands it all and... laps it up, or the promise of eternal pain and torture - to just scratch the surface. If I suggested this now as a way to live your life I'd be locked up as a complete nutter, so why should we trust it because it's a few thousand years old, exactly?
Someone I know quickly responded with "Have fun going through life with that kind of mean and angry point of view."
I'm sorry what now? Pointing out facts means I have a mean and angry viewpoint? I guess it must be mean and angry because I am one of those gosh darned uppity atheists. I mean, it's fine when I am rejecting other people's gods but how dare I reject theirs? Right?
Good grief. I'm under no illusions that if I had been speaking about the Qu'ran I wouldn't have upset anyone - but point out something wrong with the Bible and suddenly I must be mean and angry. Oh, and right.
And that is really the problem she had, isn't it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Lord gives us a sign

And that sign reveals to us all a message, and that message is:

"American Football - bag of shite".

In this, the time of the 2010 World Cup, the Lord has sent us all a sign to follow. A sign that tells us all what the one True Sport is - football (real football, the one played with your feet).

For one day the unbelievers did create an idolatrous calamity. A monument to corruption and moral turpitude. And 45 minute sports that last 4 hours. They came forth and constructed their monument of steel and foam and threw their weight behind the NFL, implying falsely that the Lord favoured that game of "Rugby for nancy boys in body armour".

Behold their foolish works:

For the heathens did raise up a statue that proclaimed "Touchdown!" And this did anger the Lord greatly.

So he sent his opinion down to us in the form of a lightning bolt, which did destroy the Touchdown Jesus. Hallelujah!

And so the Lord has spoken, hear it for yourself, understand this, the Lord's message - "American Football is shite. Look, I'll even burn down this statue of Jesus signalling a touchdown just to prove it." Cast down your idols and turn to the One True and Beautiful Game before it is too late.

Alternatively, God didn't much care for Platoon:

You be the judge.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Libertarianism - that's some dumb shit right there

I'm going to nail my colours to the mast right from the start on this one - libertarianism is one of the dumbest political ideologies/philosophies I've ever had the misfortune to come across. It's some dumb shit. Which is why it still surprises me that so many skeptics and critical thinkers cling to it so desperately and react so vehemently to criticism of it.

Now, it could be that I think it is some dumb shit because the only proponents of it I've argued with have been clueless half wits acting under the guise of intelligent critical thinkers and skeptics, after all my main exposure to it and its disciples was the idiots commenting and blogging on Goosing the Antithesis a couple of years ago (Francois Tremblay is an unbelievably arrogant first class arsehole, just in case you were wondering). But hanging around the skeptical blogosphere I regularly come across libertarians and they are almost without fail patronising arrogant wankers convinced of the absolute superiority of their own beliefs who utterly fail to convince me or any other nonbelievers that what they cling to is worth more than a leaky bucket of sheeps' piss.

Jimmy Blue gets email too, believe it or not

I know I know, how could I possibly compete with PZ on this one? Well I don't hope to, but this email did tickle me.

One word before I continue - if you email my gmail account I may take a while to reply because I keep forgetting to check it - it isn't because I don't like you, it's because I have a memory like a sieve and the attention span of a 2 year old at times. So bear with me and I will one day discover I've been an ignorant arse and I'll get around to responding to you. Unless I don't like you.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Believers - Why so threatened?

After a conversation with a colleague at work I've been asking myself this question - why are believers so threatened by atheist non-belief? I think I know many of the possible answers anyway, so this is more rhetorical than anything else, but just exactly why do theists or believers of so many different stripes immediately begin the "Convert the non-believer" sub routine upon finding out that we don't hold to the same superstitions that they do?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Blogging downtime

Yes I know, haven't written for a while, but no I am not going away. Visit from my folks, started a second job, busy time at the first job and the World Cup is just around the corner - don't expect anything for a little while longer.

Although the recent shootings in Cumbria did get me back on to gun control, so hopefully I'll summon the fortitude to finish replying to old posts from last year on that subject.

So back to the internet equivalent of a deserted town and blowing tumbleweed.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Andrew Wakefield - Dishonest lying assbag

Via Orac I saw this great summation of the Andrew Wakefield MMR controversy, and I also found out something about Wakefield I didn't know before.

Apparently, before his paper was published in the Lancet, he had filed a patent for a single measles vaccine. And what did Wakefield recommend after his paper came out? Why, that parents should not use MMR but single vaccines for measles and mumps.

Mother fucker. And the anti-vaccine morons have the cheek to call "Big Pharma" (and by that they mean real science and medicine) dishonest?

This just highlights one point I always try to make to woos and their like when they claim you can't trust a source I or other skeptics give out but you can trust the ones they use:

What makes your source completely trustworthy and reliable when ours aren't and why?

I have never had an answer yet. This is a good example of why.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Jimmy's rants: Automobile design

Before I begin this rant I should add a disclaimer just to make sure nobody takes my Man Card away (ooh starting with gender stereotypes, very controversial). I like cars. Sports cars are cool. I enjoy watching Top Gear. I have nothing against people who like fast cars and who own fast cars. Pimping your ride out is just super with me - I don't care. I don't wear tight jeans and a sports jacket. I don't whiten my teeth. I may have some things in common with Captain Slow. The target for my venom is luxury cars, their designers and owners.

However, with that said I have a rant about cars and their designers.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sylvia Browne's 2010 predictions

Back from a couple of weeks off hanging with my folks I thought I would start off with a nice juicy topic - tearing Sylvia Browne's 2010 predictions into little tiny pieces. Alright, it wouldn't be that juicy since it would be easier than breathing, but it would have been fun.

Of course I soon stumbled into a problem with this - you can't actually read Browne's 2010 predictions in full unless you are a member of her inner circle. And I'll be fucked with a rusty Buick before I give that charlatan any money, even if it is just so I can have the pleasure of showing her to be the useless fraud that she is.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The United States of America - a Christian nation

Tell that to Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax.

The irony of the title the BBC chose for the article really makes you wonder if it was intentional or not. I guess if you aren't middle class or American that New York spirit they talked about after the 9/11 attacks doesn't apply.

But hey, at least someone stopped long enough to take a picture.

Now, I appreciate that people might not want to get directly involved in a rough neighbourhood - but at least call the police and give the correct address - the final call of three was the only one that got the police to the correct area, and by then an hour and a half had passed since Tale-Yax had been stabbed.

The USA - truly a nation based on the teachings of Jesus.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The 'right' wing, big government and hypocrisy

It will come as no surprise to you that I find many instances of hypocrisy or stupidity in the 'right' wing positions on a great many things, but whilst sinking a couple of beers with a few friends last night something occurred to me that I hadn't considered in any great detail before. We got on to politics, as you inevitably do when shooting the shit with friends, and the subject of gay marriage came up. And it occurred to me that this is perhaps one of the best examples of just how hypocritical the 'right' wing can be.

The traditional conservative or 'right' wing political position is the less government the better. Government should stay out of people's lives as much as it possibly can, there should be minimal interference - there should be no "Big government." Another position that is taken for granted by political conservatives or the 'right' wing is a ban on gay marriage.

If you can't see the problem here then you are probably a 'right' wing nut.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mike Adams and like minded woos - Liars or ignorant fools?

So, via Orac over at Respectful Insolence, I saw that Mike Adams is still a clueless buffoon when it comes to discussing medicine and health care. I don't have much to add to what Orac has said or what has been said about Mike Adams and his need to lie about skeptics and health care.

But I do want to mention something that I find repeatedly when woos start to talk about science based medicine - it seems they have never experienced it. One of the most common lies that woos like to spread about science based medicine is that doctors ignore things like exercise and nutrition and just want to pump pills down your throat because they are, after all, just tools of Big Pharma. Adams is a good example of this, as you'll see if you read Orac's takedown.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Jimmy's Rants: woos, at least try to say something new

OK I lied, there is one blog post I wanted to do.

Why is it that woos (and here I include almost all, if not absolutely all, religious believers in the definition of 'woos') never seem to have a new argument when defending whatever it is they are trying to defend?

After all, it is the constant repetitions of the same arguments over and over again that means Bronze Dog is still going with the Doggerel Index, there are so many arguments that we hear again and again from woos that they make the index. It isn't that they are new and so must be added, it is that they meet a critical mass of repetition that prompts people to tag them as doggerel and beseech Bronze Dog for their inclusion.

Feeling lazy, so go read Yakaru instead

Alright, I have a week to myself thanks to erupting volcanoes pushing back my parents travel plans so I'm stuck with youngest mini-Jimmy Blue at home and with no express desire to blog, only the strange compulsion to play video games and basically arse about. So instead of not reading new material by me, go read Yakaru comprehensively tearing Dana Ullman a new one.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Vatican's latest stupidity

Ah the Vatican, truly the largest shit stain in the underpants of humanity.

Of course, now the Vatican is seeking to 'clarify' these comments. When did 'clarify' become a euphemism for 'hurriedly back pedal from the blatantly stupid, outrageously bigoted or utterly offensive by lying, obfuscating or just flat out pretending they didn't say what they did'?

What a bunch of fucking ignorant ass monkeys. Just to review the current list of Vatican stupidity, here's where they stand on the child sex abuse scandals:

First they covered them up, for decades.

Then they pretended they were nothing but petty gossip.

Then they compared the criticism of the Church to the Holocaust and by extension the critics to the Nazis.

Then they went back to claiming it was nothing but petty gossip.

Now they are claiming that there is no problem in the Church or with the priesthood, it was all done because people are gay and gay people molest children.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said:

Many psychologists, many psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relationship between celibacy and paedophilia but many others have demonstrated, I was told recently, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and paedophilia.

That is true. I have the documents of the psychologists. That is the problem.

Really? No. Don't be so fucking stupid.

But hey, the good cardinal was told so recently, so it must be true. I mean, we know from their having spent decades covering up child abuse that Catholic priests don't lie, don't we? And hearsay is definitely a good reason for condemning an entire group of people in public when you hold one of the most powerful positions of authority in the world.

Now, I admit I am not as important as the Cardinal, but I was told recently that Catholic priests eat babies and shag goats while drinking horse vomit, all as part of their ordination rites. You can take that to the bank.

But I digress, let me go back to the topic under discussion here. The Vatican, in its clarification, wants to make absolutely clear that it doesn't actually distance itself from the Cardinal's remarks, indeed it has the facts and figures to prove them. Allow me to quote the BBC article:

According to the satistical data collected by the Congregation for the Doctrine the Faith, "about 10% of cases were paedophilia in the strict sense, while 90% were cases of ephebophilia [i.e towards adolescents]", he added [Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi].

"Of these approximately 60% referred to individuals of the same sex and 30% of heterosexual character."

So, statistics gathered by the Vatican organisation responsible for helping cover up child abuse in the first place prove that the Church isn't the problem. Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather. With impartial data like that there is nothing left to argue about, right?

So, and just bear with me here, if not all of the cases of abuse can be classed as homosexual then homsexuality can't be the reason for these cases of abuse, can it? I mean, if homosexuality was the problem and if homosexuality and pedophilia were linked, wouldn't all the cases be homosexual and wouldn't they all be pedophilia? But they aren't, are they? In fact, the Vatican's own figures quite obviously disagree with the conclusion they are trying to make. 
So what is the common factor here? Oh yes, that's right - being a fucking priest. So, given the data that we have available we can safely say that 100% of the children abused in these cases were abused by someone connected closely to the Catholic church. Therefore, I was told recently, people connected with the Catholic church are more likely to abuse children than people not connected with it. The problem is not being gay, but being Catholic. 
This is true, I have the documents to prove it. Being Catholic, that is the problem.

And I'm also forced to wonder what the other 10% were, according to the Vatican, since 60% + 30% != 100%
And just in case you need it spelling out, here are some quotes from the study I linked to:
Members of disliked minority groups are often stereotyped as representing a danger to the majority's most vulnerable members...
In a similar fashion, gay people have often been portrayed as a threat to children...
In recent years, antigay activists have routinely asserted that gay people are child molesters...
It has also been raised in connection with scandals about the Catholic church's attempts to cover up the abuse of young males by priests. Indeed, the Vatican's early response to the 2002 revelations of widespread Church cover-ups of sexual abuse by priests was to declare that gay men should not be ordained...

The distinction between a victim's gender and a perpetrator's sexual orientation is important because many child molesters don't really have an adult sexual orientation. They have never developed the capacity for mature sexual relationships with other adults, either men or women. Instead, their sexual attractions focus on children – boys, girls, or children of both sexes...

For the present discussion, the important point is that many child molesters cannot be meaningfully described as homosexuals, heterosexuals, or bisexuals (in the usual sense of those terms) because they are not really capable of a relationship with an adult man or woman. Instead of gender, their sexual attractions are based primarily on age. These individuals – who are often characterized as fixated – are attracted to children, not to men or women...

Other researchers have taken different approaches, but have similarly failed to find a connection between homosexuality and child molestation...

The molester was a gay or lesbian adult in fewer than 1% in which an adult molester could be identified – only 2 of the 269 cases (Jenny et al., 1994)...

The researchers found that homosexual males responded no more to male children than heterosexual males responded to female children (Freund et al., 1989)...

However, each of them failed to prove the alternative hypothesis that homosexual males are more likely than heterosexual men to molest children or to be sexually attracted to children or adolescents...

Reflecting the results of these and other studies, the mainstream view among researchers and professionals who work in the area of child sexual abuse is that homosexual and bisexual men do not pose any special threat to children.

So the sleazy lying bastards in the Vatican can go and fuck themselves with rusty pickaxes. Here's a free piece of advice for the Vatican:

If you don't recognise the problem, you are never going to fix it - stop blaming everyone else and accept your responsibility.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

How to link directly to a comment in Blogger

OK, this will almost certainly not be news to a great many people but I just figured it out for myself so I'm posting it here.

Since I've started commenting on blogs I've often struggled when trying to link directly to a Blogger comment in long threads (I tried for instance to link directly to some comments in the Gun Control thread on this blog in a new blogpost but it didn't work). You can get the url for a comment by clicking on the timestamp and then copying and pasting this from the address bar into the 'A href...' html tags - but previously when someone had clicked on the link expecting to go directly to the comment in question they would find themselves merely staring at the top of the blog post the comment was made on and they would still have to scroll down to find the comment in question - which completely missed the point.

However, the Recent Comments widget I use from Beautiful Beta and Hackosphere manages to do it with no problems (probably edits the text string to remove unwanted characters) - click on the author's name and it takes you directly to the comment, but in the other similar widgets I've experimented with you still end up at the top of the blog post, not the actual comment (for instance, look at the recent comments widget on the Bronze Blog). Checking a couple of other blogs you'll see the same thing happens - but the urls are different from the ones generated in the recent comments widget I use, they're longer.

So, click on a timestamp for a particular comment and you get a url that looks like this:

Which you can now use to link directly to a Blogger comment using the 'A HREF=' html tag, but it didn't used to work.

Click on the author name in the recent comments widget I use and it looks like this:

and it goes directly to the required comment.

But if I use some of the other recent comment widgets the urls generated look something like this:

Yet they are all for the same comment. The first will now take you to the comment but didn't used to, the second to the actual comment and the third just to the top of the blogpost - most recent comment widgets I've found use the third format - the one I use chops the text string to get what is needed.

The timestamp url now seems to work, otherwise you can chop out the 'comment-' part of the third url, or chop out everything from the first url from and including the '?' up to, but not including, the '#' when creating a link to a specific comment in a blogger discussion.

Not earth shattering and no doubt most already know this, I just thought it was weird because this didn't work six months ago and not being able to link to a comment directly was a pain in the arse!

Arrogance on display - religious license plate frames

It's not that I think having a license plate frame with a religious message on necessarily makes a person arrogant, it's the type of message they choose to display. So two days ago whilst driving to work I saw one that read:


And my first thought was "What an arrogant prick."  Well, actually, my first thought was probably "Wish I didn't have to go to work today, I'd rather be doing something else and getting paid for that instead, like being a virgin converter or something cool like that." But it was probably soon after my first thought upon seeing that particular license plate frame.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Self confessed murderer jailed for life - so why am I surprised?

Ordinarily this really shouldn't be news or of interest - a case of someone who confessed openly in court and elsewhere that they deliberately planned and prepared to murder someone before finally carrying out the act seems to be open and shut, the conviction just a formality. Right?

Unfortunately, no.

Good grief - just shut up

They really just don't get it do they? Now we are back to the whole scandal being nothing but "petty gossip of the moment". I guess they had to go somewhere when comparing it to the Holocaust didn't work for them, so backwards is natural for an outdated and archaic organisation that has defied the modern world for most of its existence. Go with what you know.

Why don't these clueless idiots do us and themselves a favour and just shut up? Everytime they open their mouths they make themselves seem even more morally bankrupt and out of touch. Actually, on second thoughts, maybe they should keep talking and eventually everyone might begin to understand just how corrupt the Catholic Church is, in almost every sense of the word.

I mean really, the Pope has the nerve to claim that humanity needs a "moral conversion". Sorry, but the last person I am going to take advice on morality from is a Catholic priest. Any claim to moral authority the Catholic Church or any representative of it could make became laughable a long time ago.

Here's one tiny example of how moral the Catholic Church is. The Pope's personal preacher claims the criticism of the Church is akin to "the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism" in a sermon delivered before the Pope (although predictably the Vatican claims the Pope knew nothing of the content of the sermon before it was given - which if true would make him at least utterly incompetent given the current position of his Church) - then the Vatican claims that this isn't actually the official position of the Vatican - and then L'Osservatore Romano (the official Vatican newspaper) prints the full text of the 'criticism = The Holocaust' sermon on its front page! Lying is meant to be a sin, isn't it?

Of course, now Cantalamessa is scrambling to pretend he didn't really mean what he said and he is engaging in the current round of half-arsed Catholic apologies. He even says that of course you can't compare the current attacks on the Church with anti-Semitism.

Even though that is exactly what he said in his sermon.

How confusing.

Apparently you can't really take a Catholic priest at his word for anything. Don't take my word for what this parasite said though, go read a Catholic's annotated translation (and this guy is full of shit too). Cantalamessa claims that he only meant to point to the use of stereotype and passing from personal responsibility to collective guilt. Of course, he could quite easily have done that without once comparing this to the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism, couldn't he? Do they really think people are that stupid?

"Oh, when I said what I said I didn't really mean what I said or actually believe what I said either, obviously. My apology for not meaning what I said when I said it can be taken absolutely seriously though. Gospel, even. God's honest truth, I absolutely mean it this time."

Why won't they all just fuck off?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Ryan's back! Go read him

Ryan's back after a break from blogging - go check his blog out, I guarantee it will be interesting.

Friday, April 2, 2010


Just when I thought the Catholic Church and/or those representing it couldn't possibly sink any lower, they come back to surprise me.

Pope's precher compares abuse row to anti-Semitism.

It's almost beyond words. Almost.

Just say it aloud to yourself and think about it for a minute:

The Pope's personal preacher says that the criticism of rapists and the systematic cover up of their crimes, along with the valid enquiries into who knew what and when and what they did about it are the same as "the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism", in the eyes of the Vatican. And what are the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism? The Holocaust, surely? Criticising the church for covering up rape is the same as the Holocaust.

Two weeks ago
I started writing about this, specifically I was writing about how I felt Cardinal Sean Brady's apology for helping cover up child abuse was almost certainly bull shit. An apologist showed up and reacted as if they couldn't quite understand why I might not think Brady was sincere. Then we had more revelations about Brady and his baffling reception from his congregation in Armagh. Then the Pope claimed that the criticism coming the Vatican's way was nothing but "petty gossip". Now the Pope's personal preacher thinks it is ok to compare criticism of the Church with anti-Semitism.

And people want to ask me why I don't think the Church and its mouthpieces are being sincere when they apologise?

Here's why - one week ago the criticism being levelled at the Church for systematically covering up the very large and very real problem of child rape committed by priests was dismissed by the Pope as nothing but "petty gossip". Now, on Good Friday, the Church wants us to believe it is so serious it is equivalent to centuries of oppression, discrimination, genocide and hostility.

No, I can't imagine why I might not be taking any Church or Church official's apology seriously.

Of course there's so much wrong with this comparison it isn't even fucked up. I'd have to invent a new word to describe just exactly how wrong this comparison is. Here's the main problem:

Anti-semitism is directed against Jews because of WHO THEY ARE. The current criticism of the Catholic church is because of what it and a great many of its officials DID.

They are not even close to being similar, and if you can't understand why then there is really no point in trying to explain it to you - you're a clueless fuckwit with the intellectual capacity of a small wood splinter who probably thinks the Jews had it coming anyway, what with them killing Jesus and all.

For the simple minded and dull witted I'll spell it out though.

1. The criticism is not aimed at all Catholics in the way that anti-Semitism is aimed at all Jews. The criticism is aimed at the rapists, those who enabled them to continue raping, those who helped cover up the crimes and those who are now making excuses for all of the above. It is not directed at all Catholics - comparison fail.

2. The criticism is just that, criticism. They're just words. Many of them, including my own, are vitriolic and harsh, but it is nonsense to compare even abusive words with centuries of physical violence, genocide and oppression - as the idiot preacher and his letter writing 'friend' do. There have been no state sponsored or widely spread and co-ordinated physical acts of violence, oppression or discrimination against Catholics over this - comparison fail.

3. The mysterious letter writing Jewish friend (I'm sure the Pope's preacher would say he isn't racist either, I'm sure he would reassure us he has black friends too) compares the criticism of the Church with the "more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism". And what are the more shameful acts of anti-Semitism? You'd have to say the Holocaust, wouldn't you? Does any of the verbal criticism directed at the Catholic church remind you of the state sanctioned industrialised slaughter of millions? No, didn't think so - comparison fail.

And what does this comparison really say? That raping children and getting caught covering it up are the same as being Jewish? Is that really the message the Vatican wants to spread? Is it saying that Catholic's are about to be subjected to pogroms? Is it saying that Catholics are about to be herded onto cattle cars and transported to industrialised death camps? Is it saying that the critics are somehow comparable to the Nazis or those who carry out anti-Semitic attacks? Is it saying that the poor victimised rapists and those who enabled their actions, covered them up or made excuses for them are just like the victims of the Holocaust?

 If it is, then it is so far beyond ridiculous as to be beneath contempt and worthy only of ridicule, derision and scorn.

Still believe the Catholic church is officially sorry for this?

From apology to 'valid if sometimes extremely rude criticism is petty gossip' to 'valid if sometimes extremely rude criticism is as bad as the worst aspects of anti-Semitism,' in less than a week. From pretending to feel sorrow for its actions to comparing itself to victims of the Holocaust? If the Church truly felt sorry it would not now be trying to portray itself as a poor victimised and oh, billion strong fantastically rich organisation exposed for what it really is, would it? It wouldn't be trying to compare its critics to the Nazis (who else do you think of when you think of the worst anti-Semites?), would it?

And do you really think this wasn't run by the Pope and his advisors first? Seriously? And do you think this attempted portrayal of the Church as marytred victim comes on today as just coincidence (you know, the day when Jesus was supposed to have been crucified)? Is anyone really that naïve?

And let's face it, this is still about the Church not quite believing that people are ready to defy it, stand up to it and expose it for what it is. It can't believe people didn't keep their mouths shut. It wants people to think that those victims and their supporters are the ones in the wrong. The Church can't quite believe that it isn't 900AD anymore. This is a vile attempt to strike out and portray the Church as a weakened victim being set upon from the outside, it is a pathetic attempt to rally supporters.

I didn't think Catholic officials could possibly sink any lower than a great many had already. Boy was I wrong.

I predict some hurried back tracking from the Vatican - its been taken out of context, it's a mistranslation. I'm sure there will be plenty of excuses, and more than a few apologists.

Let us all hope that this is the beginning of the end of the Catholic Church.

Edited to add:

Of course, you could have predicted the outrage - and the Vatican's response. "Oh, well that isn't our official view." Fine, fire or censure the preacher then - prove it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Highlighting repeated cover ups of child rape = "petty gossip"

At least, if you're the Pope anyway.

So, a little over a week ago now the Vatican issued a more than belated apology for the growing number of cases of child abuse by priests and their cover up by the Church (more of the former, less of the latter, in the letter). He did at least manage to actually use the word 'sorry', which appears to be a step forward for these people who don't really think they've done anything wrong.

Now though the Pope has managed to undo even the little bit of good the apology did. The very public anger and horror, the questioning of the Vatican's versions of events, the calling for people to be punished for what they did and are doing, the continued insistence on honesty and the truth - this is not 'petty gossip' as Ratzinger would have you believe. The Pope apparently knows that God leads "towards the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion."

Yes, the Pope won't be intimidated by people pointing out his and his churches involvement in the covering up of child abuse because doing so is 'the petty gossip of dominant opinion' and nothing more. Ironically he also pointed out that man sometimes falls to "the lowest, vulgar levels" and sank "into the swamp of sin and dishonesty." Which, of course, perfectly sums up his and the Catholic churches actions over this and the Catholics doing the abusing.

As PZ said, could he have possibly trivialised this anymore? I mean, we know that is what he wants to do, make all these scandals go away by pretending they are not that big of a deal because they are just gossip after all, but really. What a cock.

You couldn't make this shit up, and if you did Catholics would be outraged at the offence you'd caused them.

Where's their outrage over the reality however?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The anthropic principle and Intelligent Design. And some other stuff

Careful - put the kettle on and get a brew, this is going to be a big one!

So, recently an anonymous commenter (that had better change - pick a name and use that to post with) has come by to defend Intelligent Design and offer up their evidence for it.

Nothing new or that hasn't been seen before, and the usual tactics employed I'm afraid. Since there is a lot to reply though I thought I'd write a new post dealing with it rather than spread a response over several comments on the original thread - and I'll probably use this tactic from now on whenever someone suggests some evidence in the ID post - I'll separate it into a post purely dealing with that evidence and link to it from the ID post.

Since our anonymous commenter didn't give themselves a name I'll pick one.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Comment Policy change warning - no more anonymous comments

Alright, I'm going to be switching off anonymous commenting because I am getting tired of trying to keep track of just which anonymous IDer has said what.

If you don't have the guts or the time to put even a made up pseudonym with your comments, maybe you shouldn't be making them.

This will go into effect by the end of today (22nd March).

EDIT: OK so I had a change of heart, I would rather people didn't have to register somewhere just to post a comment so here's the deal, if you want to post then pick a user name and post under that - I will give one warning to anonymous commenters and if a name isn't attached to the next comment then I will delete it and subsequent ones.

If you don't have the conviction to identify yourself, even anonymously over the internet, with comments you've made you should probably not be making them.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cardinal Sean Brady: liar, hypocrite, coward

Up until yesterday I had left the scandals surrounding the Catholic church in Ireland alone because they had plenty of coverage elsewhere that I wasn't going to add anything too by blogging myself, but the case of the cowardly Cardinal Sean Brady has left me with plenty to say, and the more I look into it the more I have to say.

So whilst re-reading this BBC article, the one that got me started on this, I noticed a quote from Brady that highlights just exactly why his half arsed apology was so utterly and shamefully worthless, insulting and meaningless.

You see, back in December 2009, Brady apparently told a reporter that:

he would feel obliged to resign if any act or omission on his part "had allowed or meant that other children were abused".
So did his morally bankrupt actions (or lack thereof) allow further children to be abused? Yes.  However now Brady insists that he will resign only if asked to by the Pope. I do like a man of conviction.

Brady is a disgrace to humanity. He is a coward lacking any moral courage or character. The only morally acceptable action he could have taken was back in 1975, and he did not. He allowed a serial child rapist, who it has emerged had been abusing chilrden since the 1940s (in three countries no less) and had first come to light as a rapist in 1968, to continue to rape children. Brady apparently said that if that was the case, he would feel obliged to resign. The only morally acceptable action he could take now would be to resign, and he won't. Spotting a pattern of moral cowardice and hypocrisy yet?

In his apology Brady said he was sorry that in the past he had not upheld the values he proclaimed, yet he isn't doing so now either. That makes his apology utterly worthless and insulting to the victims of abuse that he allowed to continue through 35 years of inaction, incompetence and immorality. He clearly didn't mean a word of it, as I sarcastically predicted myself yesterday.

The 'decent people of Armagh' should be ashamed of themselves. Brady should be ashamed of himself. Of course, thanks to his actions in 1975 and his actions now, we know that isn't the case. Shame, ironically for a Catholic, appears to be something Brady is incapable of.

His actions allowed a known child rapist to continue to prey on children for 20 years, and he won't even resign from his job. Can you imagine what the outcry would be if this was any institution other than the Catholic church? A congregation APPLAUDED him for letting a child rapist get away with it for 20 more years and then pretending he was sorry for it.


Acupuncture and infection

Remember how all those alternative medicine advocates like to complain about the side effects and dangers of modern medicine? Remember how they either imply or flat out claim that there are no such dangers from alternative medicine? Well, not surprisingly, it turns out that when people look at this kind of claim critically and scientifically the alties are not exactly correct.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Catholic clergy, ashamed? Fuck off

Cardinal Sean Brady recently made some mealy mouthed apologies for his role in the institutionalised and state protected rape and physical abuse of children by the Catholic church in Ireland. If you haven't seen what he said, here's a quote from the BBC:

"I have listened to reaction from people to my role in events 35 years ago.
"I want to say to anyone who has been hurt by any failure on my part that I apologise to you with all my heart.
"I also apologise to all those who feel I have let them down.
"Looking back I am ashamed that I have not always upheld the values that I profess and believe in."
For those of you who don't speak Catholic, allow this reformed one to translate for you:

"Unfortunately those children whose abuse I helped enable wouldn't keep their bloody mouths shut and now everyone knows what a complete cunt I was 35 years ago when I helped force some children who had been raped to keep quiet about it.
"I want to say to anyone who has been hurt by my complete lack of integrity, moral courage,  honesty or compassion that I now have to pay lip service to contrition. Because, after all, if I was really sorry about any of this I could have done something about it at any point in the previous 35 years, couldn't I? Instead though, since what I thought would remain hidden has come out now I have to at least make it look like I feel sorry for it. After all, we all know that if this had stayed secret I would never have a said a fucking thing about any of this to anyone before I died or done a damn thing about any of it. I mean really, is anyone going to buy this apology since it was only forced out of me by the fact that I actually got caught? Do you really think I would be 'fessing up to this shit if it was still a well kept church secret? Fuck off! And you've only seen the parts that have come to light, boy if you only knew what other shit I've gotten away with.
Anyway, in order to try and take the heat off the Pope I now have to pretend that all along I have felt sorry for this and just never done anything about it up until now, when it became public.
I apologise to all those who feel I have let them down. And by that I mean the Vatican and for me not helping to bury this shit so deep it would never have come to light.
Looking back I would have done everything all over again, only this time made sure I didn't get caught because if I had ever at any point felt real shame or horror, if I was ever at any point anything even approaching a man, I would have done something long before I was caught, wouldn't I?"

Clearly morality is the purview of the religious. Why is this pathetic excuse for a human being not being prosecuted for witholding this from the police? Oh yes I forget, he's a religious man and he didn't actually do the abusing. He just knew who was. And kept that information from the police (who it seems may not have acted on it anyway).  And then enabled the abusers to keep abusing.And helped keep it a secret for 35 years.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Sub Command: Missile Test mission

Something almost completely unrelated to my usual stuff today, but it is the reason I haven't posted for a while. If you aren't even remotely interested in program debugging or computer games you might as well stop reading here and go do something far more interesting instead, life is too short to read stuff you don't care about!

I recently took up playing/learning the subsim game Sub Command by Sonalysts Combat Simulations but only got three missions into the campaign when I hit a snag, I couldn't finish a mission successfully even though I had fulfilled all the mission criteria. So I did a Google search for the same problem and found there were a lot of other players with the same problem. Unfortunately there didn't appear to be a fix even though patch 1.05 was supposed to have addressed the problem. I even found a forum entry from one of the developers who said there was a problem with the goals system on this mission and that was what had caused Sonalysts to adopt scripting for the missions in their next game Dangerous Waters.

Friday, February 26, 2010

"Don't hate." say haters.

I know, sounds like an 'Onion' headline. Indeed at some point I am sure it probably has been an 'Onion' headline. Unfortunately it isn't though, which goes to show exactly how brilliant 'The Onion' is as satire.

Now, before proceeding, please switch off any irony meters you may still possess in working order, I don't want to be responsible for any injuries caused by resulting overloads.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Christopher Maloney is a quack

Well heck, who am I to argue with PZ Myers?

Christopher Maloney is a quack.

I mean seriously, what kind of addle brained fuckwit claims black elderberries can block the H1N1 virus? Block it how? And where? And when?

Christopher Maloney is a quack.

Did I mention that Christopher Maloney is a quack?

Yakaru has their own blog, go read it

Some link love to Yakaru, since I have belatedly realised that they've got their own blog now.

Spirituality is no excuse.

Goodies on The Secret and I'm sure there's plenty more to come.

Blogging the Bible part 12

Genesis chapters 12 and 13 today, not a great deal to talk about in either of them though.  Oh, apart from the fact that Abraham was a pimp.

Chapter 12 The Call of Abram

The Lord tells Abram he has to leave his country, his people and the household of his father and go to a land that he will show Abram. The Lord promises to make the nation Abram founds into a great one, promises to make Abram's name great, to bless Abram and those who like him and to curse those who don't. The Lord also promises that all peoples on earth will be blessed through Abram. (GEN 12:1-3) So Abram does as he is told and ups sticks and takes Lot with him. Abram is, we are told, 75 at this point. He takes his wife Sarai, Lot, all his possessions and the people he 'acquired in Haran' (GEN 12:5). Are we to take 'acquired' literally and presume that the Lord approves of slavery then?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jimmy's rants: Cherie Booth fail

Via Pharyngula I came across this takedown of Cherie Booth's recent idiotic and discriminatory judgement passed down on a man for violent assault.

A C Grayling on why being religious shouldn't mean you get away with shit.

Apparently punching a man inside a bank and then following him outside to punch him again and break his jaw is really bad, unless you are a religious man, in which case it is only slightly naughty and your punishment can be suspended. This man is so clearly religious that he thought it was acceptable to break someones jaw over an argument about who was next in line. Deeply religious fella.

So, whilst I agree with Booth that this kind of behaviour is clearly indicative that Miah was a religious man (Islam, a peaceful religion) it is utter bollocks that Booth's subjective opinion about religion and what it is and does is used to let him get away with what he did.

The Crusaders were religious men too, after all. Oh wait, Booth is a Catholic, bad example. How about the Aztecs?

No, I can't think of a good reason to seperate church and state.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Mike Adams has a meltdown, then has his arse handed to him

A minor ripple has passed through the skeptical blogosphere recently at the doings of Mike Adams aka the Health Ranger, from I'll spare you the details here, but I will direct you to Tom Foss's comprehensive bitch slapping of the sorry fool.

Go read it and see how this sort of take down should be done.

This is the worst Ranger since Turbo.

Psychics: Real, fake or just fucking useless?

Let's assume for the purposes of this post that psychics are real. More particularly let's assume that those psychics who claim to be able to talk to the dead really can do what they claim. Let's assume that they are not just people who are usually (but not always) good at cold, warm and hot reading. Let's assume that people like Sylvia Browne, James Van Praagh and John Edwards (not the US politician) are actually able to talk with the dead and are not just fakes who prey on the grieving, gullible and vulnerable. Let's assume that there is an afterlife and that it is possible for a tiny minority of people to communicate with those who reside in it. Let's assume that when someone says they are talking to your dead relative and all they get is "I have a male relative who may have, possibly, died, or been ill, with something, probably, to do with the chest, or stomach, area and whose first name begins with J. Or M. Or S. They want to say they love you and that [insert common household object or personal possession that is commonly misplaced] is [in a place where these things are commonly found, eventually]" they are actually talking to a dead relative and that is all they have to say.

Let's assume all this and then ask ourselves one question: What fucking use are psychics really?

Monday, January 18, 2010

A musical interlude

One of the benefits of my eclectic musical taste is that every now and then I come across a CD in my collection that I had forgotten I had. Sometimes there's a reason I have forgotten said album or single - it's crap. Sometimes though it is good to revisit the stuff we used to be in to - for the memories and feelings they provoke.

The other day I came across an old Genesis album "We Can't Dance" and it provoked a lot of memories - but in particular were two songs off that album that I remember as being basically my first introduction to the idea that gods, religion and faith might all be utter bollocks, since up until then I had been raised as a Catholic and was still at Catholic school and very much a believer, albeit not devout.

Yeah bu... I don't... what the fuck?

So if you hang around the skeptical blogosphere you've probably, by now, seen or heard about the Non-Believers Giving Aid website set up to help people donate funds to relief efforts in Haiti (if you haven't donated to something like the Red Cross or Medicins Sans Frontieres then really, what the fuck is wrong with you?) You may have also seen some of the baffling responses to this.

Apparently when religious folks or celebrities or unaffiliated groups get together and raise money, and make sure it is well known, then they are just doing it out of the goodness of their own hearts. When skeptics or atheists do it though, they are just in it for the publicity. Seriously, what the fuck?

I'm sorry, since when did it become a publicity stunt for a group of individuals to attempt to organise a concerted response to aid other people and to explain why they are doing it? Oh that's right, when those people are skeptics or atheists. Everyone else does it because they should, but skeptics do it to make themselves look good. Apparently.

To those who think this is a publicity stunt:

Fuck you and the horse you rode in on. Your opinion is about as welcome and as useful as an anal fissure.

It's not about looking good it is about helping people. Just because you like to help people to make yourself look good doesn't mean everyone does - ease up on the projection of your own motivations. Did it occur to you that this might actually be an effective way of organising a group of people who pride themselves on being disorganised individuals? Did it occur to you that this might be a good way to encourage people to donate? Did it occur to you that this might have been set up so people who didn't feel they could contribute on the ground could actually make a contribution to easing suffering in Haiti? Clearly not. You leapt straight to "It's a marketing gimmick." Shame on you.

You claim that this is evidence that skeptics and atheists are trying to use the disaster in Haiti to score points for atheism and skepticism - yet your critique of it is so transparently an attempt to score points for you against the people or groups involved.

The fact that you think an organised and concerted effort to get people to donate to ease human suffering is but a publicity stunt says more about you than any of the individuals or groups involved over at Non-Believers Giving Aid.

Go fuck yourself.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Pat Robertson is a worthless sack of monkey vomit

The Secret, Christianity, really: What's the difference? Secretards say that if you suffer you bring it on yourself, Christians say if you suffer it is God's punishment or it is because you turned your back on God. Is there any difference? Witness Pat Robertson, a pathetic excuse for a human being, blame the suffering in Haiti not on the impersonal and uncaring vagaries of nature but on the Haitians themselves.

Of course, he apparently claims he's been taken out of context but that seems pretty clear to anyone who isn't an addled brained religiot with the empathy of a rock and the intelligence to match. Haitians made a pact with the devil ergo deserved an earthquake. True story. Apparently. Of course, it isn't true unless you fail at history and cultural understanding. It isn't true unless you are a worthless sack of donkey crap like Pat Robertson, who likes to use the deaths (estimated at between 45,000 and 50,000 so far, not that you care Patty) of people killed in natural disasters to promote his particular brand of supernatural nonsense.

Religion based on fear? Nonsense. By the way, worship my god and send me money or my god will sic an earthquake on your ass and you'll deserve it. But look how pious I am. I'm just trying to help.

Pat Robertson = human being fail.

Prove you are a better human than Pat Robertson, go donate.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Non-critical critical thinking - the G-Spot

At least, in my opinion anyway.

First, you may have seen in the news that a study is due to be released that purports to show the G-Spot may not actually exist. The G-Spot has long been controversial since it was 'discovered'. Many women claim to have experienced it (just as many claim not to), researchers have claimed to show it exists and yet no physical characteristics have actually ever been shown to exist beyond scientific doubt - from what I can tell some of the claimed scientific evidence is questionable or debated and most of the other evidence is entirely subjective and anecdotal.