Monday, July 23, 2012

Annoying Crap I See On Facebook #1

“If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.” – Albert Einstein
This quote is all over the place, and I even cringed when I once heard it uttered by Bill Maher on TV. Let’s get one thing straight: Einstein was not an entomologist. He didn’t study any form of biology, for that matter. Even if he said this (which he didn’t), he lacked expertise in the fields of biology necessary to make an informed comment. This one irks me because it’s another example of fools just repeating something without verifying it. Or, as Abraham Lincoln said, “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.”

Infographics about pants sagging

I have seen many graphics of people criticizing those who sag their pants. This annoys me for many reasons. For one, it is often erroneously claimed that pants sagging originated in jail as an invitation for gay sex… so basically, some asshole is trying to harness homophobia to criticize this fashion trend (never mind that the only people I know who get upset over what people wear are actually gay). What’s more, it’s hardly a “trend,” because people have now been doing it for over a decade. The final straw is that this clearly targets black people (9 times out of 10, the person depicted in the picture is black) and white people who want to be a part of black culture. Consequently, when I see people with pants pulled up to their nipples, I assume they’re racists.

No atheist ever stoned someone to death…

I guess this one is probably more popular among atheists. It’s bullshit, though. The implication here is that atheists would never hurt or kill someone over religion… which is a claim that simply has no basis in reality. I doubt the millions of people who were killed for their religion in Soviet Russia and Communist China cared that they were starved in gulags or shot in the head rather than stoned to death. And if you try to point this out to anyone posting this, suddenly any atheist who does hurt someone isn’t really an atheist… clearly it’s the fault of the religion they were raised in or it was “political,” not religiously motivated. Bitch, please.

The Batman Shooter is a Terrorist

This one is really popular now. I have made my case on this matter with many of my facebook friends, and they almost universally agree with me: the problem is not that the Batman shooter is not being called a terrorist for being white, the problem is that anyone is ever being called a terrorist. The term “terrorist” isn’t meaningful in any real way. It is a label that tyrants apply to those people whose basic human rights they want to ignore. The answer isn’t to include white criminals under the “terrorist” umbrella for equal mistreatment, the answer is to do away completely with the emotionally charged and culturally ambiguous label of “terrorist.”

Hate is taught

What utter bullshit. I am sick and tired of people pretending that children are born good and moral. Get over it: people are born racist. We have to learn to accept others, because it is not programmed in our DNA to trust people who don’t look like us. Studies on children as young as infants have shown a marked preference for the faces of people of the same race as the child. In fact, there is actually a disorder associated with damage to genes that results in children who show no fear for different looking strangers: William’s Syndrome. People with this disorder find themselves quite often taken advantage of, because they are too trusting in a world that is actually out to exploit each and every one of us.

10 comments:

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    1. You would be too if you ever had one in your bonnet...

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  2. I doubt the millions of people who were killed for their religion in Soviet Russia and Communist China cared that they were starved in gulags or shot in the head rather than stoned to death.

    Strictly speaking, even Stalin didn't outright forbid religion. Communist persecution of religion in Russia is more complex than most westerners are aware, but it boils down to this: Lenin and Stalin were well aware of the power of demagogues (Lenin was one, and Stalin was basically only able to take power because he got Lenin's ill-judged nod), so they used state authority against any church which became influential enough to allow its preacher to become one. The whole "state officials were everywhere looking for signs of religion" thing is a myth the U.S. came up with to help ensure everyone was good and scared of those nasty Russians. Little churches were mostly just ignored most of the time, and plenty of religious dogma survived -- which is more than can be said for (to take an example) Catholic persecution of the Cathars.

    (No idea whether this is true for China, though.)

    The term “terrorist” isn’t meaningful in any real way.

    The sad thing is that until 9/11, the U.S. government had a real and sensible definition for "terrorism": an act of violence which targets non-governmental civilian citizens with the goal of altering government policy. (That is, under this definition if you bomb a public facility because you have the belief that they are refusing to hire you because of your race, or that the people who go there are evil, or because you're frankly insane and the voice of Jesus tells you to sacrifice people when you're alone, then it's just a regular crime, but if you announce that the bombings is because the government is aiding the tyrannical junta that has taken over Boofoostania, then you're a terrorist.)

    The main thing that is driving the blurring of the definition, by the way, is not careless newscasters at all. It's law enforcement personnel, who do this deliberately. And that, in turn, is because in the wake of 9/11, the Republican party decided that police departments should be able to get extra funds if those funds were used to fight terrorism. So suddenly every brown-skinned driver who gets pulled over for speeding is counted as a terrorist, everyone who shoots someone while drunk or on drugs is a terrorist, and of course all protestors are terrorists -- that's why the storm trooper outfits were out over Occupy Wall Street last year. It's all in the name of budget expansion, usually to buy fancy new high-tech equipment. Just the other day, I saw a report of some crime involving a gun in New York, and even though it was a purely "personal" crime -- the shooter wanted to specifically kill the target for reasons which were entirely rooted in their personalities and affairs, and had never attempted to attack anyone else -- the NYPD was reporting the incident as a successful terror investigation.

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    1. I assure you: Lenin and Stalin both committed wholesale slaughter on Russian Orthodox Christians (by some estimates, they amount to millions dead). They were one of the most vocal opposition groups for the Communists. If you want to argue, "It was political," then nearly every murder in the name of religion was also for political reason (and 9 times out of 10, also due to economic factors).

      Mao's cultural Revolution all but wiped dozens of Chinese folk religions off the map. I would argue Mao targeted people for their religion more directly than Stalin, Lenin, or nearly any other communist leader (though I would still argue there was clear anti-religious violence to some degree in nearly every country that we would label Communist, from Cuba to China).

      As for the terrorist remarks: I still don't like the label, and I don't think it was newscasters; I was pointing out in this case that individuals seem to want to apply it to the shooter, and despotic leaders apply it to whoever they want to justify bombing, shooting missiles at indiscriminately, and shooting with unpiloted drones.

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    2. Ah, but if you're going to argue that "terrorism" should have been reserved for a particular type of crime, then it's a bit hypocritical to argue that Lenin and Stalin's persecution of religion was not political, because it was. In pretty much every case where evidence exists, the evidence shows that the persecution arose over political fears rather than out of a hatred of religion, either general or specific. (And, furthermore, if the persecution was not politically motivated rather than religiously motivated, then it becomes impossible to explain why some churches were not persecuted; if Lenin had decided to stop all religion by means of violence -- or even merely all Christianity, leaving other religions alone -- because he was an atheist and wanted everyone else to be an atheist, then it would have been done systematically rather than haphazardly. The same goes for Stalin, only moreso; Stalin just LOVED to doom whole groups at a time.)

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    3. Terrorism isn't a thing... which is what I argued from the beginning. It's just a made up label.

      You could have have just Googled this, but Lenin and Stalin both instituted multiple campaigns of liquidating church property, generally followed by the killing of the clergy, from monks to bishops. Moreover, lower level officials also carried out their own local campaigns of eradicating religious iconography, churches, clergy, and any resistant believers.

      If you can't see how this is an atheist Inquisition, you have a truly supernatural capacity for denial.

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    4. I find it odd that the test for religious violence seems to be, "Any religious person who kills or tortures someone of another religion," while the test for atheist violence seems to be, "It never happened, nope, nadda, it was all political."

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  3. Replies
    1. I already found 3 more today... which is why I numbered this one. I think I'll be doing this again.

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  4. Wow, I actually agree with a post! Kudos for including the one about "atheists never stoned anyone".

    I agree that the "Batman shooter was a terrorist" line is idiotic, but that's because terrorism isn't just the murder of civilians - it's the targeting of civilians with a specific intention (such as achieving a political goal). Since the shooter hasn't said a word, we don't have any clue what his intention was, or whether he was sane. The line works better on the Norway shooter or the Oklahoma bombers, if you want examples of white terrorists.

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