Saturday, March 31, 2012


   Yeah, I shaved Bailey. Note to self: 1/4 inch is probably too short. I could probably go at least 3/4 inch. Oh, and thanks to my wife for allowing me to trim her.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Oh, gotta love those FOX News fallacies!

   Or not. Someone named Larry Alex Taunton put together a doozie of an opinion piece on the Reason Rally. Let's break the worst of it down!
But there is something not quite right about all of this. Christianity, whatever the faults of its adherents, has a rich intellectual tradition that has a comprehensive view of life.

The JetBlue pilot and a reason why I am an outspoken atheist

   People often spread these silly notions that we should just let people believe what they want to believe. (Alternatively: Live and let live.) It turns out this JetBlue incident may be an example of why those people are wrong. Here are videos from ABC's Good Morning America. Below the videos and the fold are my comments.

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video platform video management video solutions video player

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hi, Mom, I'm on Pharyngula!

  I made it onto PZ Myers' blog, and I just feel like gloating a little. That, and I want to share the picture that was taken. I'm in the middle and the one Jesus with fake hair. :(  To the right (my left) is vlogger Thunderf00t (a.k.a. Phil Mason) and to the left (my right) is the American Atheists' Arizona state director, Don Lacey (OK, maybe his head hair is fake...I can't remember what he looked like out of costume). In case you don't get it, we're doing "Speak no evil; see no evil; hear no evil."

UPDATE: Mr. Lacey has confirmed that is his real hair.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Reason Rally Ahead!!!

   Soooooo busy lately with warm weather (product of global warming? probably at least in part) bringing about an early gardening season and preparation for the Reason Rally! As a result, I have not had a lot of time to blog, though I have much to blog about!

   Speaking of the Reason Rally, if you found this blog site via the QR code on my T-shirt, welcome fellow freethinker! Here on The Midwest Atheist, I blog quite a bit about general religious topics. I try to comment on the latest political news when I have the time and I also have goals to blog on feminist issues, though I have not gotten around to those much. Additionally, I have been posting my responses to the book "I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist."

   I hope you will consider subscribing to my blog and I will try to pick up on posting come April. In the meantime, I am posting the 7 finalist videos from the Ten Point Vision challenge. The videos are below the fold.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bizarre Right-Wing Christian Logic

(via Biodork)

   Below is a video featuring Kalley Yanta, who, apparently, was a TV news anchor up in Minnesota and is still a media presence. She is railing against birth control in the video and makes some interesting arguments, which I will go over below the video and the break.

Monday, March 12, 2012

IDHEF - Chapter 2: Why Should Anyone Believe Anything At All?

This is part of my breakdown of the book "I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist." Related posts can be found by clicking here.

   Chapter 2 starts out discussing a seminar presented by James Sire that shares the title of this chapter. They say that Sire has four categories for why people believe what they do: sociological, psychological, religious, and philosophical reason. Before continuing, I'd like to point out that, first, the sociological category seems to be more specifically social psychology. Second, the religious reasons could be rephrased as "Obedience to Authority," but these points are trivial.

   The authors go through a hypothetical dialogue between Sire and the students of some college Sire may have presented at. This following part bothers me a little, though my objections are not related to the objectives of the book:
Sire: Okay, what about cultural influences? Do you think people ought to believe something just because it's accepted culturally?
Students: No, not necessarily. The Nazis had a culture that accepted the murder of all Jews. That sure didn't make it right! (p52)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Can we recognize Bill Maher as both a red herring AND a problem?

   For those of you who may be living under a rock for the last week, conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh has been under a lot of heat for sexist comments he has made. Well, now conservatives have been going after Bill Maher, who has a history of making sexist comments. Unfortunately, it sounds like some liberals have been defending Maher under the guise that Maher is a comedian. I can see this as being a valid excuse to an extent...that extent being to the point that comedians will often play off of stereotypes to make their jokes. The problem is that Maher way oversteps this boundary. One can tell from some of the things he's said that he is seriously sexist. I've embedded a video below if you'd like to judge for yourself. (Also on an interesting note, while the right is now attacking Maher, Maher actually suggested that liberals accept Limbaugh's notpology.

   There are two things I want to say to liberals. First, I'm sure you realize as much as I do that this attack on Maher is just a red herring to both distract away from Limbaugh's comments as well as a way to play the "They do it, too!" blame game. Call them out on it! But, second, you must admit that Maher is a sexist pig as well. Their game is to make us out to be hypocrites and it appears that some liberals are going to allow conservatives to win that point.

   I do, of course, realize the trap the conservatives have set up. It's a financial trap. Some conservatives want Obama's Super PAC to return money donated by Maher. My guess is in return they want liberals to ease off on Limbaugh, who has been losing advertisers. The solution, as I see it, is to say, "No, Obama's Super PAC does not have to reject/return Maher's money." There is no rule that a candidate has to vet his donors to make sure they don't do anything controversial. Same goes for the Republican candidates — if Limbaugh donates any money to them, they shouldn't have to reject/return any money just because Limbaugh is a slimeball.

   On a final note, I think the conservatives are also grasping for straws. I'm not sure what to do here except to just call them out on it. I am getting the impression that they are upset that liberals did not criticize Maher with such ferocity for attacks on Palin, others, as we are criticizing Limbaugh. There are three problems here. First and foremost, I don't think Maher is anywhere close to being a voice for liberals as Limbaugh is for conservatives. When Maher says something stupid, many liberals can honestly say, "Well, I don't listen to Maher anyway." I don't see how conservatives can say the same for Limbaugh...not that there aren't conservatives out there who don't care for Limbaugh. I'm sure there are plenty that don't listen to or care for the man. The point is there is an unequal level of popularity between the two. It does not then make sense for the outrage to be equal. Second, conservatives seem to be complaining not about Maher's misogynistic views in general, but specifically his attacks on conservative women. Come on, conservatives! If you want us to think you really care about women, then don't limit your complaint to Maher's treatment of your own. This shows that conservatives just don't get it. It reveals that they honestly think the issue with Limbaugh's comments is his use of the words "slut" and "prostitute." It's not. It's about treatment of women and, for some of us, the double-standards for men and women in regards to sexual health that men like Limbaugh hold. Third, and a much less significant point, the conservatives seem to be upset about Maher insulting women who are political figures (whether politicians or just political pundits). Sandra Fluke, who Limbaugh has criticized, is neither*. Now, this in no way excuses Maher for his behavior, but I don't see a political figure insulting other political figures quite as deserving of the same outrage as a political figure insulting someone who is not. Again, this is not excusing the behavior of political figures insulting one another. The overall point is that the Maher vs. Limbaugh comparisons are not on equal ground, so it is not fair for conservatives to be expecting equal treatment.
* One could claim that Sandra Fluke is an activist for women's rights, but I wouldn't put that in quite the same category. I mean, I consider myself to be somewhat of an activist (even if I'm pretty much limited to just voicing my thoughts on my blog right now).

   In the end, though, I am disappointed that some liberals are being hypocrites. Shame on them, but shame on conservatives for trying to spread the blame instead of dealing with their issues.

I like the message, not the messenger.

   There is an ad sponsored by American Future Fund that I have been noticing on both TV and the internet. For the most part, I like the ad. Obama is very hypocritical when it comes to Wall Street. He's not the reformer he claims to be...and, trust me, being a registered Democrat, I know that both he and Democrats spout how the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform bill is supposedly some great "change." This video is very good about pointing out how Obama gets a lot of campaign donations from Wall Street and how his administration is made up of a lot of insiders. It is something Democrats don't seem to want to acknowledge. The reason why is what this video targets: it's the idea that if Obama was really out to change Wall Street, Wall Street wouldn't be donating to him, nor would he include those insiders on his staff.

   There is about only one part of the video that I don't support, and that is the idea that Obama was wrong for supporting the bail out. And this gets into who the messenger is. America Future Fund's slogan is "Advocating Conservative, Free Market Ideals." These people are no enemies of Wall Street, either. Sure, maybe they wouldn't have bailed out Wall Street if they had their choice for President, but I have my doubts that they are really concerned about the people like Jack Lew (Obama's latest Chief of Staff) taking big bonuses. No, these are likely the type of people who would have let the economy tank into a depression all the while still allowing the rich bank executives to keep and walk away with their money from the banks they put under. As disappointed as I am in Obama for not restricting these executive bonuses or for not aggressively prosecuting anyone for the economic collapse, these guys have worse philosophies.