Thursday, July 21, 2011
  Why do I let myself look at this crap?

More of the usual New Atheist crap. I really ought to know better than to look at it, but it's irresistible like a car crash. Now that I've seen it I have no choice but to haul it away to the junkyard.

Column in LATimes:
Before John Lennon imagined "living life in peace," he conjured "no heaven … / no hell below us …/ and no religion too."

No religion: What was Lennon summoning? For starters, a world without "divine" messengers, like Osama bin Laden, sparking violence. A world where mistakes, like the avoidable loss of life in Hurricane Katrina, would be rectified rather than chalked up to "God's will." Where politicians no longer compete to prove who believes more strongly in the irrational and untenable. Where critical thinking is an ideal. In short, a world that makes sense.

Okay, let's recycle it.

= = = = =

World without "divine" messengers sparking violence.

Well, the Islamic fighters have certainly marked up a sizable kill record. The Religion of Peace website, which keeps a 'ticker' running, reports 17845 deaths on that score in the last 10 years.

Doesn't come close to the Mexican gang war of the last few years with 40,000 deaths, and it's microscopic compared to any of the atheist dictators. Dear Leader Kim, the last real Stalinist, does better than that every month.

For high-quality mass murder, hire an atheist.

= = = = =

Katrina mistakes rectified rather than chalked up to "God's will."

The poor levee maintenance and poor governance that made Katrina into a super-disaster had nothing to do with preachers and everything to do with good old fashioned corruption and incompetence in Nawlins and DC. Some preachers (of Christian and Gaian denominations) later attributed Katrina to our sins, but those preachers didn't cause decades of non-maintenance by good old boys who pocketed Federal money.

And the Corps of Engineers has been working hard to rectify the errors since 2005, with much less interference from the good old boys. All levels of government did actually learn something from Katrina.

= = = = =

Where politicians no longer compete to prove who believes more strongly in the irrational and untenable.

I agree that it would be wonderful if politicians stopped worshiping Gaia, stopped competing to destroy national industries and economies in order to propitiate the irrational and untenable and violently anti-scientific "theories" of the Planet Goddess.

Of course the writers aren't talking about Gaia, because Gaia is their god. No, they're talking about one question in the last Republican primary debates. But that question had no relevance to any sort of action by politicians. Believing in evolution or creation doesn't lead anyone to double the energy bills of poor people. Believing in Joseph Smith or Jesus Christ doesn't lead anyone to shut down all the electric plants in an entire country. Only Gaia can do those things. Gaia is omnipotent.

= = = = =

Where critical thinking is an ideal.

Yes, as it was in Stalin's Russia or Hitler's Germany or Pol Pot's Cambodia.

Face it, no government in the last century, religious or atheist, democratic or dictatorial, has been able to handle facts or think logically. Only some monarchies in earlier centuries showed a real respect and application of rationality.

= = = = =

I guess my real irritation is that these arguments are not just INVALID, they're OLD and TRITE. With names changed to fit the times, they're the same talking points every village atheist has been using for a hundred years. They're the same talking points I used when pointlessly arguing with my Christian friends in high school. Yet these INVALID OLD TRITE arguments always show up in 'respectable' newspaper columns as if they're fresh thinking. Do you ever see equally OLD and TRITE arguments for Christianity in major newspapers? Nope. No arguments for Christianity at all.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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