Monthly Archives: January 2012

Things we should not do

Towers in the name of atheism.

Can I just say, “please no, on behalf of everything sane”.

Let’s not start building monuments to non-belief. Let’s not start erecting statues and constructing ceremonies in worship of… nothing.

Not even single, unified, lack-of-belief systems. Because we’re not unified – some atheists are skeptics. Some are not. Some are humanists. Some are not. Some of us are dicks (sorry, “pro-active”). Some of us are accomodating of all religions.

Some of us are religious Switzerland.

I’m not even going to go begin to ask why atheism would want to be more like a religion. Lets just not go down this route.

Also, £1,000,000? For a tower? Total waste of money.

Lastly, but not leastly: thanks de Botton. Thanks for – yet again – perpetuating the myth that atheism is purely negative, that “new atheists”* are “aggressive” and “destructive”, and for reducing Richard Dawkins to a tone argument again. “Richard Dawkins, why do you have to be so very aggressive all the time. I mean, you could just be nice, right?”

“Because of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens atheism has become known as a destructive force. But there are lots of people who don’t believe but aren’t aggressive towards religions.”

Believe what you want, but Hitchens and Dawkins aren’t\weren’t that bad**. The reason why they seem so rabid is because people don’t like what they are/were saying. Have you ever read The God Delusion? At no point does it call anyone stupid, willfully ignorant or a borderline fascist.

(I wish I could find the video where Dawkins was called out at an Australian skeptics meet up by an attendee who thought he was too kind. I know I’ve seen it somewhere, even if it was years ago. Ah well.)

It just seems more like de Botton’s trying to distance himself from Dawkins, rather than back him up. That doesn’t seem helpful, especially considering the increasing radicalisation of religion, and the rise of the fundie nutjobs. But I guess trying to become religion’s atheist best friend does have perks…

Anyway, thanks de Botton for continuing this trend, and thanks for using the best intentions to suggest a stupid idea.

* I hate this phrase so much.

** Well, maybe Hitch was.

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Warning – No Saccharine Sweet reviewing this week

Wow, I really don’t think that I’m going to be able to have a review up this week, at least not until about Sunday. I know I’ve been really flaky recently about this whole “work ethic” thing, but my attention has been focussed elsewhere. Like on the last exams I may ever have to do.

I tell you what: you help me out with this, and I’ll have a review up on Thursday. Just click here and read some Hegel for me.

[beat]

Back already? Well, if you didn’t bother to click, or didn’t bother to read – good for you! You are officially SANE.

In response, have these three gifts.

  1. “Bork Bork Bork!”
  2. He Will Never Have A Girlfriend
  3. And Scott Pilgrim Comics.

See you in a few days! Maybe sooner; probably not.

 

(On the plus side, though, I think I have just managed the best set of tags in human history.)

How did I not know about this already?

I am appalled that Scroobius Pip has had a solo album out for months, and I haven’t given him my money yet. The things that I could have been doing since then – listening to the album, seeing him play live, watching him cut his beard, buying a badge from his stand at a gig, failing to rap along with the words…

Well, soon I will do my best to rectify this. Don’t you worry about that. But until then, jasmine tea, revision, noodles and watching this video on repeat.

UPDATE:

And there’s more. Damn, he’s sounding good!

Usually it’d be sacrelidge to say such things when he’s not with dan, but I’m sure that he won’t mind, especially as he’s touring solo and gearing up for an album too.

Apparently, when playing live, dan sounds like this.

 

HOLD THIS DATE

I feel bad for being happy that this is something that is actually happening in the UK for once, what with Skepticon, TAM and the Reason Rally. (Which, by the way, has an awesome line-up. Have you seen the line up?)

***

On 11th of February, I am going to be celebrating my free expression* and reading a fuckton of Jesus and Mo comics. Hell, I might even go buy the book! (**availible from all good book stores and mosques**)

This is because Maryam Namazie, via One Law for All (an Anti-Sharia Law organisation) is holding a day of protest after a couple of pretty nasty attacks these last few weeks. I’m really not sure that I should be the one to explain them, as the info is all on the site, but the one that’s taken most of the spotlight is Rhys Morgan, who had to change his facebook picture or be expelled from college.

OK, not the end of the world, facebook pictures are just pictures. But think about how ridiculous that is. Profile pictures are nothing; insignificant; pointless. Why the fuck is he getting threatened with expulsion?

This is the face for "Seriously?". It's also the face of the SSA's president. I love the internet!

More seriously, there was a case where, at a lecture about Sharia Law**, a nutter (technical term) with a phone camera walked in, videoed all of the audiences faces, and then said he would hunt them all down if they said anything bad about the fruitloop Mo.

This is in the UK. For fucks sake…

So, let’s celebrate our right to say that people who threaten other people with death on behalf of other long dead people’s impugned name are FUCKING MORONS and a danger to themselves and the world at large.

Let’s celebrate on the 11th of February.

And make this image go viral.

I only hope that there are events outside of Dick Whittingtown. Up in the chilly north would be nice.

* Not that I do a particularly good job of keeping it in check the rest of the time…

** It’s not clear that the lecture was even criticising Sharia – it could just as easily be informing people about what it is. I mean, I have a rough idea, but no knowledge of any specifics – I might be tempted to attend such a lecture just to be better informed.

 

The Hang of Music: My (Thirty) First Step

OK, time is of the essence, at this point, so I’m gonna go for a *brief* intro here.
This week I’m listening to Moon Gold, the debut album by “The Pillows”.
ONWARD!

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Mass Effect, but with FEMALES!

One of the things I’m looking forward to most in the upcoming Mass Effect 3 (not coming out soon enough) is the homeworlds. For the first time in the series, we will be seeing the turian and salarian homeworlds, as well as the human one, Earth itself. And while this is awesome from an epic, shit-is-getting-real, perspective, there’s another side of this:

Women and children.

In every Mass Effect game so far, they’ve done a great job of describing the different species and their cultural and political history, but no time has been spent on diversifying the species; there are no young turians or salarians*. In an action game, I can see why that might be. But the real problem is that, in a verse where the women kick as much ass as the men do, there are still very few women.

Except for her.

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The Hang of Music: Bombshell Shmomshell

It’s still technically Thursday, right?

Man, all of my time has been stolen by essays and VVVVVV. So, lateness will I hope be tolerated. And if not, then you can’t be more harsh than platforming without a jump button.

This week, it’s King Creosote, with “Bombshell”. I hope you like.

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An oh-so-brief word about feminism and the colour pink

Now that that title has put off 90% of anyone reading this, I am angry.*

I don’t know enough about Ben Radford to critique him much. But he is unfortunate enough to be in good company. As in, unfortunate enough to be surrounded by good people, who are themselves armed with brass knuckles and lead pipes.

I don’t intend to describe all of what he said – hence why this is oh-so-brief – beyond my one line summary below. Anything else you want to know, go to Rebecca Watson and the Squidlord. Here is my one liner, though:

Ben Radford ungenerously** critiqued a 4 year old’s argument about why it’s odd that girls are channelled towards the colour pink.

Does seem a bit dicklike.But sure, why not? Go for it: she says something, you can have an opinion on it. Except he is wrong. Wrong on a lot of points, and I can’t be bothered to read it all, but I want to bring him up on a spot where he was not ideologically wrong, but factually wrong: the worst kind of wrong!

“Originally, only boys were swaddled in blue, and girls were later assigned the color pink for reasons that aren’t entirely clear.”

Let me stop you there. No. Just stop.

I’ve been beaten to the punch for this by PZ, who responds to this even in the same article, but I was blinded by pure rage when I saw this, and had to start writing here before I could bring myself to go any further. But I’m going to reprint this salient fact here, for all to see, because it’s fucking important.

UNTIL REALLY FUCKING RECENTLY, PINK WAS FOR BOYS, AND BLUE FOR GIRLS.

Seriously, a quick wiki search for pink returns this information, and while it’s bizarre, it’s not so fucking esoteric. Yet he claims it’s been this way for millennia, I shit you not.

This is the age of the internet. There is no excuse for being so monumentally wrong.

 

 

Now you are free to go read what other, more eloquent and timely people have said about this. Thanks for your time.

* Not that I just put off 90% of people; although I am annoyed about that… What I’m trying to say is… Oh, you know what I mean. Stop reading the footnotes and finish the article”

** This is important – you should always interpret your opponent’s argument in the best possible sense, so as to stop yourself from winning an easy victory over a straw man. Also, she’s fuckin’ 4, man!

The Hang of Music: Smiling Politely

Well, what started out as a complete and total failure to manage my time has since turned into a week long holiday for me. Or for you, as a holiday from me. Whichever way you look at it, I’ve been fully enjoying my holiday time, but now, on twelfth night, the holiday period is now well and truly over.

As such, I have Cancer Bats for you, singing songs from “HAIL DESTROYER”. I sure know how to get you gifts, don’t I?

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