Wednesday, April 25, 2012

She Came Back

She came back last month.
We met 5 years ago,
We started dating 4 years ago,
She started cheating on me 3 years ago,
I found out and forgave her 2 years ago,
She left me for real 1 year ago,
She showed up on my doorstep 5 Tuesdays ago.
Something was different this time.
She always had a pretty pale face, but now she looked half dead
And "sorry" was the first thing she said.
That should have been my tip that something was off.
She always barged in before, now she asks for an invite
And she now seems deathly afraid of sunlight,
And yesterday, she tried to give my neck a bite.
Such strange behaviour, don't you agree?
Like, when she sees a cross she screams and flees.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of church either but that seems a bit...irrational, right?
Maybe it's just me, but my honey seems like she didn't come back right.
But at least she's back, and I'm no longer alone.
I'd rather be with a bloodsucker than no one.
Read more!

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Misguided Penguin

So my friend TCC posted this article, which linked to this one by The Contemplative Penguin. TCC did a good job defeating the points raised in one of the Contemplative Penguins blog's other currently-available articles, and thus I'll hit this one, titled "An Atheist friend asked..." My reply after the jump The article claims to be about what religion is worth. It's clearly worth a lot to the believer, that's not in dispute. However, this cannot be used as an attack on atheism. I'll get to that later, but first, the crux of the argument! The Penguin quotes a guy named GK Chesterson who said:
"What matters about a religion is not whether it can work marvels like any ragged Indian conjurer, but whether it has a true philosophy of the Universe."
Penguin followed that up by defining "true philosophy of the Universe" as "a true philosophy about life." If you have even a basic understanding of philosophy, you probably broke your hand and your forehead just reading that. What the flying hell is a "true philosophy about life"? How do we determine which philosophy is "true"? Can we determine any philosophical ideology to be true or false? Is there even a real truth? We have to determine that before we can use words like "true". Either way, you can't just say that an entire philosophical framework is simply "true" or "false". You can show it to be inadequate or inherently flawed, but "true" or "false"? That's a childish way of thinking, in this context. Also, they're ALL about life, and that little redundancy makes me suspect the author doesn't know what he or she is talking about. Anyway, the author goes on to say that his/her religion gives such a "true philosophy" and thus, a purpose in life. Good for you, I say. I need no religion to have any sort of purpose, but if you're weak enough to use that crutch, by all means, use it. Essentially, without a purpose, life is meaningless. Great, I'm with you. I did have to laugh at the example Penguin gave us: tennis star Boris Becker, "after winning a competition" (no specification as to which competition, or even if it was a tennis tournament) was asked how he felt, and he said "I am trying to figure out why I shouldn't commit suicide". The reason I have to laugh is that Becker is a christian of Jewish descent, meaning that he clearly didn't get the memo that his religion gives you purpose. Either that or he was making a joke, or he suffers from depression, which is a medical condition and not an indication of a flaw in a religious or philosophical position. He may have had a purpose and yet felt no desire to continue living due to a mental illness. I don't think the Penguin contemplated this, however. Right after that, the author says that the only purpose that gives "true" meaning is an eternal purpose. Why? Because non-eternal goals don't last. There's another example of a Chinese businessman who had a lot of money but felt empty inside. Who was this person? Was he a real person or made up one? Did he suffer a mental illness of some sort? Is this proof that his (possibly non-christian) religion is wrong? Of course it isn't, it's just proof (assuming it actually happened) that that particular man wasn't happy. So, he needs, or at least needed, to do something to make himself happy. Simple as that. The next paragraph is a redundant repeat of the previous paragraph, with the added assertion that we need this transcendental, eternal purpose. Simply saying so doesn't make it so. Then we get to the fatal flaw. I understand that this person believes that since the most important aspect of their life is religion, atheism must be the most important aspect of our lives. The author is right to say atheism can't offer a purpose in life. What the author does not realize (and perhaps is incapable of realizing) is that no one uses atheism as the basis of their life. No one. And if they do, they are not well adjusted people. It's just like saying you'd base your life off of not believing in unicorns. Don't take this as being dismissive of your beliefs. As stupid as I think they are, I realize they're very important to you, the believer. But to me, it's like everything else I don't believe in, and it's only an issue because people who do believe won't sod off and let us live in peace. The author seems to think most of us think simply being alive is enough. At this point, I have to wonder how much this person has spoken to atheists, or if this person has spoken to any at all. No prominent atheistic philosopher thought that. The Buddha dedicated himself to ending suffering, Nietzsche was all about life-affirmation and self-actualization, Marx believed that living in a harmonious commune where all people got a fair wage for their work was the ultimate goal, while Rand thought that pure selfishness was the ultimate virtue. Yes, I am simplifying their views dramatically, but they're probably the four most prominent philosophical minds (currently) that did not believe in any deity and none said that simply living was enough. What foolishness. Then, this quote, which makes me think I'm dealing with someone who doesn't know how arguments work:
There was a rather brutal experiment with babies in the past wherein a number of babies were given all things necessary to sustain their vital functions: food, drink, warmth, etc... What they were not given was any type of affection. The babies all died. Isn't it odd that we learn from the very basic stage of human development that it is impossible for us to live without love?
This may seem weird, but this reminded me of this one experience I had. I was with my honey, making out, when all of a sudden the phone rang. I answered it and the male voice at the other end said "what are you doing with my daughter?" I told my girl, and she said "my dad is dead." THEN WHO WAS PHONE? The fact is, when Penguin cited Boris Becker, it was irrelevant. The story may or may not have happened, it doesn't matter. The Chinese businessman's story is even less relevant as it probably didn't happen. But here? This person could prove their point if they'd just link to something proving that the story happened. Wikipedia? An article about it on PBS or the BBC or CBC's website? Something about it on an academic website about psychology? As it is, it's every bit as likely as me getting a phone call from a ghost or serial killer or whoever phone was. This is followed, of course, by a bible verse showing that Jesus wants us to have more in our lives than just what's needed to sustain life. Of course, every other religion says the same thing, even a few where there are no gods (like Buddhism) but I highly doubt that Penguin knows anything about other religions aside from that they exist. After all, if Penguin was aware of the teachings of other religions, he/she would not call christian philosophy "unique". The message at the end of this post is that god is love. Well, actually, it's more likely god is NOT love, since love is not jealous and jealous is not only something your god is, but it's also his actual name, but even so, it doesn't matter since your god does not exist. What is your religion worth? Whatever you want it to be, but it's wrong. What is my atheism worth? It's an irrelevant question. Like all well-adjusted, mostly sane people, my views on the various deities we've come up with is secondary to my personal moral code and my personal philosophy. Just because you need to have atheism be a religion in order to combat it doesn't mean it is one. In conclusion, bite me.
Read more!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Government Should NOT Be Run Like A Business

A very common statement from right-wingers is "government should be run like a business!" This, of course, is a very stupid idea, one that Mitt Romney (amongst others) has been touting for a while now. He even said this gem recently. Since it's so hard for some people to realize the fundamental differences between government and business, I'd like to compile a short list of them:

1: If a business shuts down one branch then gives its executives large bonuses, they might be thought of as awful people but they're within their rights. If a government does that, it's called "corrupt" and they might end up getting ousted from government or even fined.

2: A business having a monopoly is a bad thing. If a company gives out poor service or doesn't supply a particular product and there is no competition, you're stuck. The fact that anyone can open up a competing business is a strength of capitalism. A government having a monopoly is a good thing. If anyone could start up an army, write new laws, create their own form of legal tender or jail people, that would be utterly disastrous. If you can't see why, you're probably too stupid to talk to.

3: You can't fire your boss. You can fire your government (at least in democratic societies).

4: If you stage a violent coup against an evil, dictatorial government, it's generally accepted as a necessary evil. If you stage a violent coup against an evil corporation you work for, that's terrorism.

5: A hostile takeover is a generally accepted business practice. If a country commits a hostile takeover of another country, it will probably end up with a massive war with that country's allies.

6: Businesses exist to make profit. Governments exist to protect, serve, and maintain society. Any business that does not make a profit will fail, any government that does not protect and serve its people or fails to maintain societal order will crumble. In other words: businesses and governments have different priorities and needs.

I could probably go on, but that's probably enough to get my point across. The fact is that it took me approximately 15 minutes of thinking to see those 6 points and if I cared enough to go further, I'd probably be able to find many other differences between the two ideas. Now, can we please stop repeating that stupid, stupid "point"? Read more!