Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dumb things religious people say

Now and then, Jerry Coyne reveals some of the seedier comments he receives at his blog web site. Here's one he offered this morning. The indented remark is from a deluded reader. The non-indented remark below it (in blue) is Jerry's reponse:
I’m confused why atheists would choose to bring a child into this life when they would only die in 70 or 80 years. At worse, a child could live a life of suffering with something like heart disease or depression. If there’s no purpose in life, what’s the purpose of reproducing? It seems just too cruel.
I’m confused about why religious people would choose to bring a child into this life given that it is likely to burn forever in the afterlife.

That's telling them. How can anyone think there's no purpose in life unless Jeebus gets to play a role? That's so dull-witted it's nearly comatose. No purpose? Everything in life has a purpose: the one we give to it. Humans make meaning; it's what we do. You really have to wonder how religious people can possibly miss this basic fact of life. 

Maybe they're not alive?

NY Times comes out for marijuana

The paper of record pushes for an end to federal marijuana prohibition. It's about time.
It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol. 

The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana. 
They state the facts clearly:
Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults. Claims that marijuana is a gateway to more dangerous drugs are as fanciful as the “Reefer Madness” images of murder, rape and suicide. 
Now, was that so hard? It's time to end the insane prohibition against marijuana. Even the staid New York Times thinks so.

Friday, July 25, 2014

A peek in the mirror

You know how you're having a nice day, and then you walk past a mirror in your house -- and see a pair of jockey shorts draped over your shoulder?

And you realize that you put them there when you were folding the laundry three hours ago?

And then it hits you that you've just gone to the library and the supermarket looking like this?

Glamour. It's so elusive! Stay classy, people. I always do.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I can't breathe

That phrase - "I can't breathe" - has become a rallying cry against police abuse in NYC. I'm sure you've seen the story on the news. Eric Garner was simply engaging in a common poverty-economy practice -- selling single cigarettes to earn a few bucks -- when the police attacked him and caused his death.

I hope you've seen the video. You can clearly hear Mr. Garner saying, "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" as the police continue to hold him by his neck and put pressure on his chest. They killed him. There's no two ways about it. And for what? For selling loose cigarettes, as thousands of people do every day in NYC? That's a crime that deserves the death penalty?

I thought about Eric Garner yesterday as I suffered my second attack of being unable to breathe. It's only happened twice to me and I don't know what causes it. It's terrifying. It's as if my lungs cannot use the air, as if there's no oxygen in it. And it makes me feel desperate and wonder if I'm going to die.

My second attack happened outside a medical clinic, as I was on my way to an allergy doctor to find out why this happens to me. And as soon as someone realized I couldn't breathe, a "code yellow" was called and five medical professionals rushed toward me with a wheelchair, oxygen, etc. They put me on a machine to help me breathe and within an hour I felt fine.

But all the while, I heard Eric Garner's voice saying, "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" I couldn't help but contrast the comforting response of the people around me, with the callous and inhumane actions of the police and EMS staff who surrounded Mr. Garner and simply watched him die.

Eric Garner is black and I'm white. And he was unlucky enough to have this happen while he was surrounded by NYPD officers who didn't give a damn whether he lived or died. They're not only the police -- they're the new militarized version of the police that has cropped up in NYC since 9/11. These officers see civilians as the enemy. And apparently you don't help the enemy, especially if he has brown skin.

It's so wrong. I'm fine today and Eric Garner is dead. Why? And if it's just his race, then we are not living in a civilized country. We're all supposed to be equal here. Where were the caregivers to help this man? Why did EMS workers not intercede when they heard his cries for help? And why did the officers not lift themselves off him when they heard he was having trouble breathing? Why?

Something has to change. We are all equal. It's just that some monsters don't recognize this. I don't want people like that to be handed a badge or a medical license. I hope many officers go to prison for a good, long time for what they did  to this man.

And by the way, he was a good man. Everyone says he was a gentle giant who would help anyone with anything. All you had to do was ask. The police murdered a teddy bear, not a criminal. And they should pay for this.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

More harm from religion

Okay, so the article I'm about to quote was at HuffPo. But hey, it's got links to real articles so I think we can trust it.
Young children who are exposed to religion have a hard time differentiating between fact and fiction, according to a new study published in the July issue of Cognitive Science.
Gee, what a surprise.
Refuting previous hypotheses claiming that children are “born believers,” the authors suggest that “religious teaching, especially exposure to miracle stories, leads children to a more generic receptivity toward the impossible, that is, a more wide-ranging acceptance that the impossible can happen in defiance of ordinary causal relations.”
Put simply, religious thinking poisons the mind. Personally, the thing I hate most is seeing a story about religious parents who kill their kids to send them to "a better place". Ahem, that would be the grave. A poisoned mind is capable of terrible things.

I often say that religion is the reason why Americans can't think clearly. They've had no practice in logic because their brains were poisoned at an early age by religious nonsense.

There is no heaven, there is no hell, there is no god or devil. And that's why we should try our best to be kind to everyone we meet (including those kids at the border). Since there's no afterlife for those who suffer here on Earth, what say we try to avoid the suffering in the first place? Works for me.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Uh...that explanation won't fly

I assume my readers know all about Chris Kluwe and his stellar GLBT activism. Great guy, well-spoken. And of course he was fired from an NFL team because of it.

Apparently the Vikings supplied this strange statement in their defense:
The Vikings lawyers claims that although Preifer said we should “nuke… all the gays,” he was otherwise completely respectful of LGBT people and those advocating on their behalf.
I'm like, totally sure this is accurate. Totally. Aren't you?

This has been your daily exercise in "Explanations that don't work".

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Communion on the moon. Oy.

This actually happened.
As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin prepared to take "one small step for man," Aldrin wanted to commemorate the moment in a way he found most personally meaningful -- by taking communion.
You know you want to read the full story. Damn, and it's Sunday and everything.