Friday, August 31, 2007

Fuck'em All: Give The Man the Finger!

Man, I wish there was such a chasm. Of course, the rope would've been cut a loooong time ago.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Warren Buffett says the system is rigged

Warren Buffett is no stranger to money. He's one of the richest men in the world; I think he's in third place at the moment.When he says the tax code is more lenient to the ultra-rich I'm inclined to believe him. After all, it was a bunch of rich guys who bought the politicians who wrote it.
The very rich in America pay taxes at a lower rate than most working people, and, due to a wrinkle in the tax code, private-equity partners enjoy some of the lowest tax rates of all. At a Hillary Clinton fund-raiser in New York last month, Warren Buffett, no stranger to wealth, told an audience filled with bankers and real-estate developers the system was, in effect, rigged. "This is what Congress in its wisdom did: the 400 of us [here] pay a lower part of our income in taxes than our receptionists do, or our cleaning ladies, for that matter." Buffett (who is a director of NEWSWEEK's parent, The Washington Post Company) offered a million dollars to any fellow magnate who could prove he had higher tax rates than his secretary.
We shouldn't be surprised by this, but should be pissed off enough to fix it. It's time to put some people in Congress who aren't beholden to the rich. Right now there are two types of congress-critters: Those who were brought into office by rich men and those who are rich men. That's not democracy; that's oligarchy.

The creepy thing is that these people really do all know each other:
He [Steve Schwarzman] told The New York Times three years ago that he saw Averell Harriman, a financier who became an envoy to Russia and adviser to Democratic presidents, as a kind of role model. When Schwarzman was a brash young Yale student in 1969, he wrote Harriman, asking for an audience (the two had been in the same secret society, Skull and Bones; Schwarzman was a class behind George W. Bush).
Powerful folks all know each other. They keep tabs on each other. They help each other. They go to the same schools; they have access to the halls of power. They are the moneyed-elite. They are The Establishment, The Oligarchy: Your True Masters. Bow before them, peasant.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The future of health care depends on the pr0n industry

Check out the above video. It's just about the coolest thing I have ever seen. My initial thought was "this has got to be fake" but Zcorp is a real corporation and the process seems plausible, especially the way that simple models take several hours to "print" out.

I didn't know such things were possible, but it looks like somebody found a way. I guess they took inkjet and laserjet technology and added a 3rd dimension to it (thus, the "Z", as in the Z-axis), using some sort of plaster-like material to form the objects. I just think it's so amazing that they got this crazy-ass idea to work. I bet it doesn't come cheap, though.

What's more, scientists are using similar technology to try and "print" organs (like, as in human organs) at the cellular level. Imagine a world where waiting for a liver transplant doesn't involve waiting for a donor but waiting for the printer to finish. Of course, the error messages will get that much more annoying: "Out of BioInk. Please insert fresh flesh cartridge. Or you will die."

I can only imagine that something this powerful would be insanely expensive. If this technology is going to come down to the masses we're going to have to get the word out to the people who matter, the people who can really make a difference. Yes, that's right: Pornographers. Once the porn industry gets ahold of this and starts making life-sized models in a big-ass printer the world will never quite the same.

Of course, you can already predict which organs will be the first to reach the mainstream. Just be careful what you ask for when you go to the printer.

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Without power.... again

Once again I am without power. I'm writing this from work, just to update the blog, 'cause it might be awhile. This time I can see what the problem is: My neighbor's telephone/power pole was snapped in half and fell on one of his trees. The whole thing is just fucked. The powerlines going to my house are sagging so low I could almost jump rope with them.

So, for the second time this month I am trying to survice without power. It was the same thing as last time; a powerful storm came through at 3 am and the first thing it did was knock out my juice. My sweet, sweet electricity. Oh how I miss it.

I guess I'm lucky I didn't have more wind damage since there were 70 mph winds reported (it was 80 last time I think). Lots of my neighbors lost trees or at least huge branches. The whole 'hood looks like a warzone, with leaves and branches scattered everywhere. I half-expected to see radioactive zombies wandering the street in search of brains.

So I guess Mother Nature hates me or something. I'd better buy a generator before the next storm. That, and a shotgun for the zombies.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Police provocateurs try to disrupt union protest

The Quebec police thought it would be fun to plant a few fake protesters in the recent Stop the SPP protests in Montebello.

Take a look at the video below. The guy in the suit with the beard is Dave Coles,
the president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. He sees a bunch of beefy, 30 year old men dressed up like 17 year old anarchist punks who are clearly trying to provoke the police. He accuses them of being cops and they don't deny it.

The cops "arrest" the provocateurs, to make it look legitimate, but there is no actual record of their arrest. They were plants, fakes, double agents, provocateurs.

Unlike the chickenshit, corporate-controlled American media, the Canadian media are not afraid to expose underhanded tactics like this, which are clearly inspired by J. Edgar Hoover and COINTELPRO.

The three are confronted by protest organizer Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. Coles makes it clear the masked men are not welcome among his group of protesters, whom he describes as mainly grandparents. He urges them to leave and find their own protest location.

Coles also demands that they put down their rocks. Other protesters begin to chime in that the three are really police agents. Several try to snatch the bandanas from their faces.

Rather than leave, the three actually start edging closer to the police line, where they appear to engage in discussions. They eventually push their way past an officer, whereupon other police shove them to the ground and handcuff them.

Late Tuesday, photographs taken by another protester surfaced, showing the trio lying prone on the ground. The photos show the soles of their boots adorned by yellow triangles. A police officer kneeling beside the men has an identical yellow triangle on the sole of his boot.

Kevin Skerrett, a protester with the group Nowar-Paix, said the photos and video together present powerful evidence that the men were actually undercover police officers.

"I think the circumstantial evidence is very powerful,'' he said.

The three do not appear to have been arrested or charged with any offence.

Police confirm that only four protesters were arrested during the summit -- two men and two women. All have been charged with obstruction and resisting arrest.

Veteran protester Jaggi Singh, who is helping to circulate the video as widely as possible, said all four of those arrested are known to organizers and are genuine protesters.

"But we see very clearly in that video three (other) men being arrested . . . How do (police) account for these three people being taken in, being arrested? Where did they go?'' Singh said.

"I have no hesitation in saying they were police agents ... and they were caught red-handed.''

The next time you are at a protest or see reports of a protest turning violent, it's fair to wonder whether it was provoked by undercover cops posing as protestors. It becomes a self-perpetuating cycle as the cops claim they need more gear to fight off the protesters that they themselves have planted to sew the seeds of violence. I don't think it's unfair to call tactics such as this "fascist" and demand an independent investigation.

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How was the show?

Thanks for all those who came to the show tonight. It was awesome to see you all there. Hope we put on a good show.

For those of you who missed our inaugural gig, we've got another one coming up on Saturday the 25th! It's a the Terminal Bar at 9:00 pm. I believe cover is $5. We'd love to see you there.

We're Darkfold. We rock your face.

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The Cloak of Stupidity

The Oligarchy won't allow impeachment.

However, if you want to remove the Oligarchy you have to remove Bush first. It's a Catch-22 born in Hell and swaddled in conspiracy. Some people suggest that the Democratic Congress is simply incompetent and divided. I think it's much more likely that they are servile and paid-for.

Check out this awesome article from Glenn Greenwald. He nails the Democratic-controlled Congress for being the sell-outs they are.

Impeachment is necessary, but the Democrats resist where there's merit while the Republicans rushed forth without the People behind them. Both parties are a bunch of fuck-ups. They're so incompetent that there's no difference between that and evil. When that's the case you have evil hiding itself behind a Cloak of Stupidity. Ironically, it's a brilliant plan.

Whoever said "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity," was essentially writing evil a blank check. It seems the quote itself is stupid...or evil. Hanlon, however, created the quotation as more of a joke, not a axiom set in stone. Foolish are those who set store by it.

The Dark Ones will gladly use the Cloak of Stupidity to escape perceived culpability because the repercussions for negligence are much less severe than those for malice. It's a simple cost-benefit analysis for the neocons: "We're not evil, we're stupid!" I predict you'll be hearing that excuse a lot in the near future. Don't fall for it. If you wear the Cloak of Stupidity you deserve to be stripped naked, warts laid bear.

The Oligarchy reacts to sunlight like a vampire does. Expose the Hidden Hand and you'll be one step closer to impeachment and true liberty.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Darkfold show -- Tuesday night at Big V's

Hey everybody. I've been so busy lately I haven't had time to post about my band's show tomorrow night!!

As you may know, I'm in a band called Darkfold. We're playing Big V's Saloon Tuesday night at 9pm. Cover is $5. Also playing are A Life Without and Post Mortem Grinner. It's gonna be an insane show! More metal than you can swallow. Hope you can make it!

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Feds Train Clergy To "Quell Dissent" During Martial Law

A shocking KSLA news report has confirmed the story we first broke last year, that Clergy Response Teams are being trained by the federal government to "quell dissent" and pacify citizens to obey the government in the event of a declaration of martial law. Economic Collapse? Another mass-casualty, false-flag attack? [/digg]

This is incredibly disturbing. Here's the news clip for those who doubt:

Am I cynical to believe that something terrible will happen either right before or right after the elections (before inauguration)?

If it does, we've gotta stick together, organize and resist. This can't happen to America. It's like a nightmare you can't wake up from.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

There's a 20% chance we're living in the Matrix, says researcher

This is older and backdated, but I wanted to make sure I get this on here for future reference. Fascinating take on a deep philosophical problem.
Until I talked to Nick Bostrom, a philosopher at Oxford University, it never occurred to me that our universe might be somebody else’s hobby. I hadn’t imagined that the omniscient, omnipotent creator of the heavens and earth could be an advanced version of a guy who spends his weekends building model railroads or overseeing video-game worlds like the Sims.

But now it seems quite possible. In fact, if you accept a pretty reasonable assumption of Dr. Bostrom’s, it is almost a mathematical certainty that we are living in someone else’s computer simulation.
I think it's quite likely that this universe is just an illusion. Even matter is mostly empty space. It seems like a projection, or a Matrix.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Some Mornings are Death Metal Mornings

Have you ever had a Death Metal Morning™? It's when you need a fix of super-loud, super-fast death metal in the morning when most sane people are listening to light music to slowly wake the hell up.

As I was pulling out of my driveway this morning I couldn't find anything decent on the radio so I switched to a CD Andy gave me - Nile. I figured it might be a death metal morning. Boy was I right.

Not three seconds after putting on the CD I turned onto a road not more than 100 feet from my house and was nearly driven right off the road by a vehicle coming at me at extreme speed.

This is a neighborhood, mind you. Kids are all over the place around here, and this street was a residential road (one lane in each direction) with a speed limit of 30 mph, which most people actually follow. Not dumbshit though. She/he was going at least 50 miles an hour. Although the car was coming right at me I managed to make it up to 30 before they caught up to me. You'd think we'd be cool, right?

No. Dumbfuck swerves and passes me, crossing the double yellow line (no passing) and into oncoming traffic (there was none. This is a quiet neighborhood...or it was) and gives me the finger as if this is all somehow my fault.

No way, muthafucker. Not in my neighborhood. So I follow the little bitch and lay on the horn. We come up to a stoplight and we have to wait at least 30 seconds, thus negating any time dumbshit might've saved by speeding 50+ mph in a residential zone.

Muthafucker should be thanking Jesus I didn't have a fucking baseball bat in my car or there would've been trouble. She/he would've seen a well-dressed office drone jump out of his car with a bat and death metal blaring. I would've proceeded to beat the fuck out of his/her nice-ass SUV (of course it was an SUV) while screaming, "Not in my neighborhood, MUTHERFUCKER!!!" repeatedly. It would've been quite a sight.

Luckily, I don't have a baseball bat in my car, but life is a mosh pit and I'm thinking about getting one. We live in a death metal world and if you're not ready to fight back you're gonna get your face stepped on.

Nile, by the way, is perfect for working through a spasm of rage in the morning. It truly was a Death Metal Morning™.

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4 sick little monkeys screeched back

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Democratic Congress has completely sold us out

I just wish I was surprised about this ugly turn of events. Unfortunately, I'm not. Just a little disappointed.
Just as the Democrats work tirelessly to demonstrate to the voters that it makes zero difference which party controls Congress, the political establishment forces all candidates for the presidential nomination to sever any compromising ties to sanity and common sense.
It's not a very good article, but I thought the above paragraph was well-written and to the point. Cockburn had be going until he ripped on people pursuing impeachment:
The left is as easily distracted, currently by the phantasm of impeachment. Why all this clamor to launch a proceeding surely destined to fail, aimed at a duo who will be out of the White House in sixteen months? Pursue them for war crimes after they've stepped down. Mount an international campaign of the sort that has Henry Kissinger worrying at airports that there might be a lawyer with a writ standing next to the man with the limo sign. Right now the impeachment campaign is a distraction from the war and the paramount importance of ending it.
Uh, not quite, dumbass. Bush is still the commander in chief. He needs to be removed before the bloodshed will end. If he's still president he will not draw soldiers out of Iraq, even if there's no money to support them. He doesn't give a fuck!

Oh, and he'll probably cook up some reason to go into Iran if things start winding down in Iraq. Get a clue, dude. Go after the source of the problem. Why do you think we're in Iraq in the first place? This is Bush's war.

As for the Democrats and their capitulation on the spying thing (not that they were even under that much pressure): Wow. Talk about a knife in the back of Lady Liberty. I keep arguing that there's an Oligarchy, a Ruling Class, and that it doesn't matter which party you choose because the elite control both, and the Democrats keep proving my point. Thanks, but I'd rather you show some spine, guys.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

36 hours with no power

Because of the storm early Saturday morning I spent last nearly-40 hours without electricity. It's an interesting perspective on things. You realize how much you depend on a constant stream of fresh, juicy power coming into your house.

The big thing is the refrigerator. As the food starts to get warmer and warmer you've gotta calculate how long it will be before the power is back on, and with no working phonelines or a TV or a computer or an internet connection it's kinda hard to sniff it out.

Usually the power is back on shortly after the outage. It was clear in the morning that this wasn't one of those outages. I called the power company today on the last of my cellphone battery and they said, worst-case, it could be end of day Tuesday. Yikes.

You start thinking differently without reliable power. Simple tasks become much harder, some things become impossible and you have to be wily and inventive. The weird thing was how much I got done around the house. Tasks that has been sitting around forever got completed. Overall, I can't complain. But I'm glad it's over.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Atheism as a religion: A discussion and analysis

Wow, okay, my last post went over like a lead balloon on Reddit. I thought it was fair and coherent, but apparently people disagreed with my conclusions and downmodded it as a result.

However, one guy (it could be a girl. Perhaps I assume too much) was rational, calm and intelligent enough to discuss it with me without a flamewar erupting. He's known as Strontium90 in the comments of that last post. He continued the discussion over on reddit but I want to make sure y'all read this because I think his points are good, even though I've refuted most of them. Here's what he had to say:

I commented on your blog as Strontium90. Unfortunately, you seem to be confused about what a null hypothesis is, the concept of the burden of proof, and the nature of positive/negative claims. You also dismiss the subtle differences between agnosticism and atheism as mere semantics, while insisting that something as innocuous as a water-like substance could be discovered, which we would call god. This is a double standard.

You also seem to be under the impression that atheists do not believe in gods because they do not like them, which is why you brought up several examples of gods that atheists would likely find favorable (such as the love-goddess) as a counter-example. Unfortunately, the repulsiveness of deities is not what causes atheism; their implausibility does.

You also seem to be unable to grasp bobbincygna's analogy. I will attempt to elucidate.

[[[For readers: When I implied atheism is a religion someone responded: "If Atheism is a religion then not collecting stamps is a hobby." And then bobbincygna attempted to defend the analogy. -Vemrion]]]

On bobbincygna's analogy:

Take the set of all hobbies out there. H = [hobbies]. This includes everything you would call a hobby, from collecting stamps to messing with telemarketers. Now, let us suppose that we take the (rather passive) activity of not collecting stamps. Is it reasonable to place it in that set? No, of course not. Someone who has no hobbies can call called an a [without] hobbyist [person who has a hobby or hobbies].

Now, take the set of all religions, from Buddhism to Scientology, call it R. All items in set R are characterized by various elements: the lionization of faith, the existence of holy books or scripture, the presence of some sort of supernatural elements, etc. Does a belief which simply consists of "I do not believe in the supernatural, I do not believe that books are holy, and I do not take extraordinary claims on faith" belong there? I don't think so. It, like the lack of stamp collecting, is a lack of theistic belief. This is what atheism means - a [without] theism [belief in god].

Atheism, the most oft-displayed example of metaphysical naturalism, can be termed as a philosophy, or perhaps a meta-religious view (view about religion), but it certainly is not a religion. There are no holy texts, only books which effectively sum up the philosophical arguments against theism. There is no dogma among atheists, unless you count a lack of belief in gods. This does not really count though, because it is necessarily true that an atheist lacks belief in gods. And he certainly will not be excommunicated or disowned by his parents if he later professes theism. Faith is not celebrated, instead it is essentially abandoned in favor of reason. Leaders and followers do not exist: Richard Dawkins might be influencial, but I don't consider his words to be gospel, and neither do most atheists. They happen to share a lot of his beliefs, though. There is no formalized ritual such as prayer, sacrifice, etc, which is another thing that sets atheists apart from theists.

Pretty well-reasoned, I thought. But I definitely want to challenge some of his assertions. Here is my response:

My apologies for the confusion over the water-diety. I didn't make it clear, but I was referring to something similar to a water elemental -- basically a spirit that is infused with one of the four elements (water is a compound, of course, but it's also one of the classical elements), Fire, Earth, Air and Water (the Chinese add a 5th: Metal). It's probably not a very good analogy since it's completely hypothetical and imaginary, at least as far as science is concerned.

I grasp the stamp hobby analogy just fine. It's a poor analogy, though, which you seem unable to grasp. Here's why:

Collecting is an activity. Philately is a hobby. However, you could still be a philatelist and not actually collect anything. How? By knowing a heck of a lot about stamps, that's how. Philately is the study of stamps, not the act of collecting them. You could be an expert in stamp lore without actually having a collection or wanting one.

Actually, maybe the analogy is not so poor, since once you learn how faulty it is you might be able to understand how atheism could be considered a religion. Of course, this does depend on semantics to an extent.

An extremely simple definition of religion is this: "A religion is a set of common beliefs and practices generally held by a group of people." Boom. You hold beliefs in common with other atheists (you refuse to worship "known" gods) and your practices are also similar in that you refuse to attend worship services (I assume. Personally, I make exceptions for weddings and funerals, but I don't "worship"). It may be negative, but that doesn't mean you can't group it under religion.

For example, you've already admitted that atheism is a philosophy. Would you also consider it a theological perception? Just because the content of your theological perception attacks the underlying structure of most other theologies and even theism itself, that does not stop it from being classified as some form of theological outlook. Do they study atheism in theology classes? In many cases, yes (there might be some bias in many of them, of course).

As for dogma, yes I consider the lack of belief in gods to be a dogma among atheists. If someone claimed to be atheist, but continually made shrines to Buddha would you consider him a "real" atheist?

To take it even further, have you ever heard "The first rule is that there are no rules." Is that a rule? Sure seems like it to me, even though its singular act is to bar all other rules. It may be recursive, negative and contradictory... But it's still a rule.

Also, if you knew more about theology you'd know that there are several religions that are nontheist. They generally don't deny the existence of gods, they just aren't concerned with them, and don't take a stance on them either way. Confucianism and other eastern religions are a perfect example. For this reason, many people like to call them philosophies rather than faiths or religions, but this is another semantic argument, one that is caused by the overwhelming prevalence of Christianity in the weltanschauung of westerners.

If you consider ritual a necessary part of the definition of religion, consider the scientific method. It's also a dogma of sorts, and it prescribes a methodology for discovering and verifying knowledge in such a way as it will be acceptable to others in the scientific community. In much the same way that a priest prepares to consecrate bread and wine, a dutiful scientist will prepare for an experiment by controlling for variables and making predictions (hypotheses) before the experiment-ritual itself is performed.

As for proceeding from the assumption of the null hypothesis, that's your business. It's certainly a good idea in science, but in matters of faith things are not so cut and dried.

Also, please note that I am not calling you a religious person by stating atheism could be considered a religion. I'm just pointing out that atheism is quite similar to other religions, and as it grows there is a risk that it could be seized and exploited by charlatans. I believe there was a South Park episode about this. I am also sure you would see through the bullshit and hopefully refrain from any atheistic fundamentalism, but just remember that there are a lot of stupid people out there. In fact, some people are dumb as fuck!

Even as I'm drawing religion and science together, surely you'll concede there is much that separates them. The problem is that the scientific method is not known to work for the business of discovering gods. I believe Scott Adams once compared this folly to using a metal detector to check for unicorns in one's sock drawer. The fact of the matter is, we haven't discovered a "god" (definitively, based on the scientific method) so how can we say we're using the best tools for the job?

Perhaps a new method is called for. Of course, if I knew that method I'd present you with solid proof of the existence of god(s). But you could easily reject it by saying my method does not adhere to the principles of the scientific method. But what if my method was better, at least for discovering and identifying divine beings?

A question to ponder: Have your placed your faith in the scientific method?

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Zealots of a non-existent god

Batting Around the Mouse
I've always liked Scott Adams and Dilbert. He's actually got a pretty good blog, too, and it's a surprisingly combative one. You might expect that his blog is a lovefest if you've never been there: "omg Scot i totully luved dilbertt today! dogbert is my hero!'

Nope, Adams goes for the throat and his (many) commenters do too. It's an intellectual and incendiary blog, and sort of a kindered blog to this one in many respects (I gotta recognize that he's been doin' it longer -- he's the Dogfather).

Speaking of the dyslexic agnostic (he stayed up all night wondering if dog exists) -- Scott has gone after atheists in a big way lately, and caught plenty of reddit-hell for it. Good. He's right: Full-on atheism is just as intellectually indefensible as religion.
This brings me to atheists. In order to be certain that God doesn’t exist, you have to possess a godlike mental capacity – the ability to be 100% certain. A human can’t be 100% certain about anything. Our brains aren’t that reliable. Therefore, to be a true atheist, you have to believe you are the very thing that you argue doesn’t exist: God.
I don't particularly like the way he frames his argument as a percentage; it seems too much like gambling on Heaven (but that's what it is, at least according to western religion). This is known as Pascal's Wager:
Chief among the alleged flaws in Pascal’s argument is that you still have to pick the correct religion among many, or else you go to Hell anyway.

Sure. But picking any religion that promises salvation slightly improves your odds over picking an option that doesn’t. You're still probably doomed, given your bad religion-picking skills, but a one-in-a-million chance of reducing the risk of eternal Hell is a move worth taking, mathmatically speaking.

I don't subscribe to this theory since I'm an asshole -- an asshole who thinks it's more important to find out the truth than to assure yourself a slot in heaven at the good table. In that respect I have a lot in common with the atheists who are eviscerating Scott all over the internet.

But why should they care?

If they were so secure in their position they wouldn't be calling for his head, would they?

Many atheists claimed to be "weak atheists", which is sort of like saying you prefer a shade of whitish-black. Just say "gray", okay? The word "agnostic" already exists; use it.

So, much of the argument is semantics-based bickering. Tiring of this, Scott moved in for the kill -- or so it seems. Like a cat batting around a mouse he's just torturing these people and mocking their cognitive dissonance (ah... a man after my own heart).

The phrase “weak atheist” is apparently nothing but a weasel self-label for agnostics who have picked a side and don’t want to be seen as giving any opening to religion. It is politics disguised as philosophy.

As Scott pointed out, we can know a priori that atheism is not logical: If you admit you are not omniscient or omnipotent how can you claim to know whether or not an omnipotent or omniscient being exists? Or put more simply: how can atheism be proven true when you can't prove a negative? Doesn't that make it a faith, a religion?!

Cult of Nothingness
Oh man, nothing gets atheists more pissed off then calling their movement a religion. First they get angry, then they gather in communities like chatrooms and reinforce each others' beliefs, hand out matching T-shirts and start setting up temples dedicated to their faith.


They even have their high priests and holy writ. I guess atheism is big business -- if you can get enough people to buy into it.

And that's the problem, isn't it? Aren't most of us fed up with organized religion and all the attendant bullshit? No offense to the believers out there, but much of what is known about early Christianity, for example, reveals its modern branches as spawned from hoaxes, lies and ignorance. The Bible was not written by "God." It was written by men, who say that it was written by God. Big difference, that.

Semantic Saṃsāra
Well, the natural reaction to the bullshit of Christianity is atheism. But wait a minute; how do you know atheism is any better? Well for all the reasons above, you don't. Furthermore, you're following an "-ism" -- a meme, a movement, a faith, an order. And isn't that what got you neck deep in Popeshit in the first place?

So what's the answer?

Well, look at the atheist Scott got all riled up:
Perhaps if he had spent even a small amount of time researching the matter, he'd have learned what the difference between weak atheism and agnosticism is — and at the same time, he might have even learned how and why everything he wrote in his post was either factually incorrect or logically incoherent.
He makes a fair point in his link about atheists merely denying belief in a god rather than asserting gods don't exist. Fair enough, but it's a semantics game, buddy! Agnosticism staked out that turf long ago.

His rejoinder:
Agnosticism is not about belief in god but about knowledge — it was coined originally to describe the position of a person who could not claim to know for sure if any gods exist or not.
Splitting hairs! None of us can claim to know for certain, except for the specious claims of religious zealots... and a few atheist zealots in the other direction as well. If we accept his argument that:
An agnostic atheist won’t claim to know for sure that nothing warranting the label “god” exists or that such cannot exist, but they also don’t actively believe that such an entity does indeed exist.
How is such a belief different from just saying "I'm agnostic"? It's 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. His semantic games probably help to win arguments, but his tactic of dividing people up into lots of different sects sounds a lot like religion to me. It's the natural recourse of a zealot who's experiencing cognitive dissonance.

It's also a way of dissociating yourself from the truly nutball atheists -- the "strong atheists" or whatever he would call'em. Fair enough, those people are stupid. But it seems to me like a lot of atheists are actually agnostics who have taken an atheistic stance until such a time as god is proved one way or another.

Why not just call'em what they are: fence-sitters. Agnostics. Agnosticism, by the way, generally outweighs belief, at least among the logical. Most of us are not ready to believe in a god we don't know. How can you tell it's a good god if you don't know its properties? Saying you don't worship something you don't know seems redundant, but I'll grant that there are probably crazy people out there who worship gigantic invisible hammers or something.

The Stain of Christianity
To me, saying you're an agnostic is sensible, but taking it one step further and saying you're an agnostic atheist is presumptuous. Given that, to date, humanity has proven the existence of exactly zero gods, doesn't it seem like putting the cart before the horse to say you don't honor any of the thousands of gods that may or may not be out there? If, for example, humans knew of the existence of 1, 2, 10 or 2000 gods, then fine. You can say, "All of these gods suck. I'm an atheist." That would be logical, but dismissing the panoply of possible gods beforehand is a logical leap that rigorous thinkers should not make. Perhaps there's a big-tittied goddess out there who has no worship requirement, but has lots of great advice for lovemaking, thoughtful advice for living happily and the promise of eternal life. Many of the greco-roman gods were totally horny, and pretty tolerant, too. Don't forget those Vedic gods who were into tantric sex rites. Are you gonna pass that shit up?

Atheists are, ironically, letting the blinders of Judeo-Christian tradition blind them and limit their imagination. I, for instance, don't accept the notion that there can only be one god and he must be male (...somehow), omnipotent and omniscient. One can be extremely powerful without being all-powerful. Atheists are too concerned with the Christian conception of god and are letting those assumptions fuck with their logic. I would encourage so called atheists to explore eastern religions, many of which are more properly called "philosophies", to get a good feel for belief outside of the Judeo-Christian deathgrip. Some suggestions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and Confucianism.

There's that "-ism" suffix again. Atheists are as guilty of it as anybody. Isn't that a lot of busywork, subdividing yourself down to a certain sect, all so you can feel some sense of belonging, of having that "god" thing squared away? Done. Full stop. Finished. Problem solved.

But it isn't quite that easy, isn't it? Atheism is making alliances with other groups, such as hardcore fans of evolution and science in general. It's growing and becoming a money-making venture and it's increasingly gaining clout, especially on the internet. Atheism, in its way, affects all of us, and will do so even more in the future. In time it could become a political force and when that happens atheism will become just as corrupt and controlling as Christianity.

Atheists have a stigma -- right or wrong -- of being close-minded, of having decided something. That, to me, is the most dangerous part. Faith, god, reality, truth -- these things are too important to just put in some box. Then again, maybe I'm just a contrarian or a purist because I wouldn't call myself a Christian simply because some fellow 'Christians' would include Hitler and G.W. Bush.

Seeker of Truth
So now that I've criticized everybody else, what do I think? Fair question. I think that what's important is not who or what you believe in, but that you try to find some truth. Life is a quest, and as long as you keep searching for truth or a clue or whatever, you'll be okay. I believe that 'seekers' are safe in the eyes of any benevolent god.

Given a malevolent one, you're fucked either way.

If there's no god, oh well, at least you looked. If you're not going to search how can you really mock the religious folks? Shit, that's every atheists' hobby, isn't it? Their true tenet, their sacrament, I think, is to mock religious dumbshits. And god bless'em for that. I enjoy doing the same. But if you're gonna talk the talk, you should walk the walk.

Ultimately, it about responsibility. If you're labeling yourself with a convenient "-ism" you're not really thinking. Take responsibility for your own faith or lack thereof and try to improve your level of knowledge. Lumping yourself in with a group is too easy. Everybody has different beliefs, so why do we gotta keep making these walls, these sects and strictly delineated sets of believers?

It just makes it easier for people to manipulate us, and isn't that what atheists, agnostics and free-thinkers have tried to escape for centuries?

What I think we need is 6.5 billion people courageous enough to believe in 6.5 billion personal religions without killing each other, or amassing followers. ... Yeah right. A guy can dream.

In the meantime, I guess we'll have to get used to atheism as a legitimate "faith" in this country. There's just one problem: I don't believe atheism really exists! Haha, okay, I'm joking, but the point is that most so-called atheists are actually more agnostic when you come right down to it. But who knows, I could be wrong and as such I'm keeping my options open.

The only thing I know for sure is that people who claim they know "The One True Path" are full of shit. Fuck them. Find your own path.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

A general strike has been proposed for 9/11/07. No work, school or shopping

Endless War.
Hundreds of Thousands of Dead Iraqis.
Civil Rights and Habeas Corpus: Gone.
Executive Privilege: No Accountability.
9/11 Questions?

Corporate Media.
Corporate Government.

Tyranny. Fascism. Lies.

The Time Has Come.
To Say NO.
While We Still Have a Chance.

Tuesday 9/11/07
No Work. No School. No Shopping.
Hit the Streets.
"Somebody should do something!!!"

That somebody should be you.

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1 sick little monkeys screeched back

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bridge Collapse in Minneapolis

Part of 35W in Minneapolis collapsed today, around 6 pm. I was just getting home from work and heading over to a friend's house. I could've taken 35W. I took 35E instead. Yikes.

At least 50 cars were on the bridge during rush hour traffic when it collapsed.

Mayor R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis said that at least six people were killed in the bridge collapse. Local officials warned that the number of fatalities was likely to increase through the night. One witness told CNN that a policeman said he had seen seven bodies. Dozens of injured drivers and passengers were taken to area hospitals.

The eight-lane Interstate 35 bridge, a major link between Minneapolis and St. Paul, was being repaired at the time, and an eyewitness told MSNBC that he had heard a jackhammer being used on the roadway just before the collapse at about 6 p.m. local time. Witnesses said the bridge, which was built in 1967, collapsed in three sections, sending a plume of smoke 100 feet into the sky.

I hope the death toll doesn't rise any higher. What a disaster.

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Lies crumble... laughs lumber

A little something juicy to tide you over:

Iraq war veteran and experienced demolitions expert blows the cover on 9/11 inside job.

Was Pat Tillman Murdered? Absolutely Yes, According to a Nam Vet

And something funny for all of the D&D geeks out there. Doesn't quite make up for all the murder and death in the other links, does it? Man, I had hoped this blog would be a lotta laughs; more than a barrel full of monkeys, as it were. Life just doesn't seem to work out that way.

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