Friday, June 26, 2009

Republicans, Christians, and Moral Superiority

It is cute to watch Republicans these days, and to an extent Christian's self-apologizing. And TPM has done a good job of covering it all.

They have up both a slide show of the scandals of the conservative movement, and also a flowchart to explain what is going on with there reps and leaders.

But there reactions on the right to events says it all.

From Limbaugh blaming the SC sex scandals on Obama...

To the decision of the pious and true, declaring those in the social conservative who ever fail or falter were never really on the team (he was never my friend/my champion/my ally)...

To Gov. Sanford himself. The man who has built a career on ending the careers of those with moral failiings declares that he is immune. If King David kept his job after an affair, he gets to keep his...

Isn't that nice?

Thanks Christians. After all the talk of moral absolutes, the unchanging rules, the unending certitude...When it hits too close to oneself, it is different.

If the hypocrisy of Sanford in cheating while spouting as he did was not enough, then he goes about forgiving himself. And how often have we seen that? In the RNC? In churches?

Moral superiority must be really cool.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Addendum to the last post...Or, we should be nicer...and LOUDER!

This started as a quick, cute addendum, then it got a mind of its own.


It is also interesting to read through the comments on the fan site and on YouTube. You get to learn that the cast are all believers, except for Brian "Mr .Deity" Dalton. But it is a reminder that, just like Atheist, religious folk are not some caricature. They are professionals, enjoy good comedy, and appreciate the valid points being made.

Just as do a lot of Christians who comment on YouTube. It is sometimes hard to remember as you read comments on science blogs, or see attacks from various self-appointed leaders and experts on faith, that in various religious groups there are those that are actually sane.

There are many that are open and inclusive. Dalton goes with his wife and kids to a Lutheran church, for material, and his wife (Lucy) suffers through this. We have a long list of interfaith marriages that work fine. And as an ex-Lutheran every sermon I heard was rather tame, middle of the road, and about being a better person...though I took a lot of naps and day dream trips. Still, there is humor there. Sometimes even self aware humor for the pious that can enjoy what work like Mr. Deity can bring out.

It is just something to bare in mind. Sometimes in describing Christians, Muslims, or just religious folk, a broad brush is not truly warranted. There are Muslims that don't want to destroy America and make it a caliphate, or stone there daughters for wearing makeup, or refuse to let you bring a dog in there home. And there are Christians that don't shun science, appreciate secular governance, have respect and love for homosexuals, and don't want to ban dancing (Yes, that even counts for some Muslims.). People can be complicated, but still be good neighbors and friends. But we have out troubles.

The trouble remains that the loudest voices in many of squares ends up being the worst of these groups. Whose louder, the Christian who appreciates the complexity of abortion, or the one who demands it be banned in any form? Who's louder the Muslim who thinks Sharia law is outdated, or the one that demands it be enforced in a given country? You can bring into this the question of which gets time more often on the news?

I have no trouble with people being Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. I have a problem when people decide there tenets need to be used to impinge on me, on countries, on society. We can all have are little beliefs, but society is so much more of a complicated beast, through which we synthesize out certain key rules we use to live with one another. We aren't nomadic groups, we aren't small villages strewn across vast wastelands, we just don't need this strong armed garbage like, perhaps, a more primitive and ancient society felt it needed. We have grown up (Yes, I have been watching Star Trek TOS this weekend, why?). We can be quite diverse, and even multicultural, yes I said it, I don't care if some want to whine about the term.

We can be a diverse society, that develops certain rules all must adhere to. We just need to stand up and be loud and clear when things are not right. When the human rights arm of the UN is used to try and quiet descent on religious practices and abuses, we need to be heard. When sharia law is being applied in a country, we need to be heard. When evolution is being shoved out of science classes, we need to be heard. Internationally done to the local level, activism is important. Too often the loudest voices in general discussion of matters is the pious and close minded one. This is also true of science matters. Who chimes in the loudest to PBS when they do shows on evolution? Who writes in or phones the papers about science texts, ten commandants monuments, etc.? Not us. Compared to Muslims or Jews, secular Americans are a far larger percent of the populace, yet we are so much more quiet.

Are we truly as apathetic as they say?

I think not.

Finding one's deity.

I have been remiss, but Mr. Deity Season 3 has started up, as have further episodes of Words.

So far...Mr. Deity and the Virgin. And you thought the virginity rules were just spurious.

And...Mr. Deity and the Book, Part Deux. Because a book with this many bad ideas can't be contained by a single webisode.

Add to this the hilarious trailer that is out for Larry/Deity...finally the Big Cheese gets the grilling He's deserved...hmmmmmm, grilled Cheese.

They also are noting the updates to their main site, Mr. Deity. Where you can catch up on old episodes, and other offerings. Did I also mention that they have an extended cut of the new show there?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I ran for cover, you ran for trouble.

It is something to watch Republicans these days. I remember the days of "support the troops", "my country right or wrong", "we should all follow the presidents lead". My, those days are gone for sure.

But it just gets zanier for them. I mean, look at Iran. They curse the president for not speaking out enough and not saying things he did say. They want then want threats, anger, and to be a rallying point (for people who aren't THAT crazy about us). How rich is it to see Mr. Bomb Iran, bemoaning the fate of Iranian people. So rich. Watching Chambliss gives a good taste of this.

Besides the fact that it is down right infuriating to listen to the likes of Saxby Chambliss now feigning concern about fair and free elections anywhere, the Senator also thinks that the Iranian people, if asked, would not remember what the CIA and the United States government did to their democracy back in 1953.

Reza Aslan pointed out that the opposite is true during his recent appearance on Hardball:
ASLAN: You know, he mentioned the CIA coup of 1953, which most Americans don't know anything about, but which, I got to tell you, is like the core event, the ur-event of the 20th century as far as Iranians are concerned. It's their revolutionary war, civil war all wrapped up into a single thing. And to hear a president even mention it, let alone acknowledge it in that way, had a huge effect in the cafes in Iran.
The Republicans continue to use the events in Iran as a game of political football, with little care as to how our actions here, if we're looked at as meddling again in their politics, could make things worse.

Yes. Now, suddenly, Republicans are citizens of the world. Yeesch.

Ensigns of Commandment

The story of Sen. John Ensign and his misdeeds has been darkly enjoyable. This guy cheats on his wife, gets the woman's family jobs, presumably to keep things quiet, then just as word is about to get out, outs himself. But better yet is the fact he has been such a moralizer for so long attacking Clinton and Craig among others for their activities all the while doing just the same.

The only thing that makes it all the more lovely is how it all came together. Promise Keepers. Seems he is a member of this righteous group. He met a fellow there that had a wife he was interested in. So...Promise Keepers...not just about fidelity and piety? Also for the swingers?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Homeopathy Awareness Week

Apparently the British Homeopathic Association, in BRITAIN, is calling June 14-21 as Homeopathy Awareness Week. Sounds good to me. People should be aware, but in the sense they were looking for hacking their wares.

Dr. Novella:

According to the British Homeopathic Association (does that mean the fewer members they have the more powerful the group?) June 14-21 is Homeopathy Awareness Week. I would like to do my part to increase awareness of homeopathy.

I would like people to be aware of the fact that homeopathy is a pre-scientific philosophy, that it is based entirely on magical thinking and is out of step with the last 200 years of science. People should know that typical homeopathic remedies are diluted to the point that no active ingredient remains, and that homeopaths invoke mysterious vibrations or implausible and highly fanciful water chemistry. I would further like people to know that clinical research with homeopathic remedies, when taken as a whole, show no effect for any such remedy.


Ah, make sure everyone you know, knows the know of homeopathy.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Being critical of Obama on gay rights.

I really liked the criticism of Obama on promises to act on inequities affecting the homosexual community. It does not stop me from being supportive of the president. I have a number of areas I am in disagreement, but like most liberals, I differentiate and prioritize. But that doesn't mean we are obliged to just look the other way, to not question, or to not speak out and challenge. We have a right to expect more and push for more, without being on the opposite side. Conservatives seem to have some problem with that.

When did hating America become patriotic?

When did it? As I have been watching conservatives mouth off and rant in the last month they have veered further and further into attacks they once called unamerican and traitorous. But now it is all virtuous and true.

You have the John Voight's declaring the president a new Caesar (w/ vid). Apparently Bush's marching the legions into 2 countries, and cracking down on liberties in this one don't count that way. Then he says he is too weak and naive. He makes no sense. But this guy is a tool, and an actor, so who really cares.

But you have Orrin Hatch who reminds us how we can all get along. Just do as he and the rest of Republicans demand. How nice of him.

Cause as Glenn Beck likes to remind us, progressives are the problem with the country.

And as Dr. Tiller's murderer promises, more violence is coming. How nice of the conservative nut jobs.

And the Secret Service seems to be quite busy dealing with a number of ongoing threats to the President...and conservatives love America...?

So why are they angry. Apparently Newt knows. Gingrich has warned the pious...those PAGANS are everywhere...LOOK OUT!!!

As Crooks and Liars, among others, have been chronicling, the right wing has been passionately decrying day after day march to socialism. They seem to love to announce and decry it time and again, as Chris Wallace was on his show (w/ vid).

Better yet we have Rep. Kirk of Illinois. He is advising the world to not trust the government financial is warning the world away from doing business with the US...WTF?
Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) now appears to have taken a bold step in the debate over the budget deficit: Openly telling a foreign government not to trust the administration in Washington.

The Straits Times reports that Kirk spoke to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, and discussed a meeting he had with Chinese leaders. ...

He's telling the Chinese our number are not to be trusted, particularly if we make changes to health care. Nice. Remember when a female politician wearing a scarf while visiting the Middle East was a betrayal of American ideals?

And then there are others in Congress, actually have been disclosing dribs and drabs of our intel secrets. What patriots. Remember when this stuff was supposed to be wrong?

What further damage could these America loving patriots do to the country? Oh yeah! Rush and others are calling for boycotts of GM and its cars and services. So they want to destroy one of the countries large businesses...

Geez, these people are such tools. Let us see, disrupt the economy, reveal intel secrets, foment revolt and violence, disrupting our diplomacy with other nations, and we are supposed to be more worried about an old man in a cave on the other side of the world? I mean, really, conservatives in power the last eight years and out of power now seem far more capable and active doing far more damage.

Anything else? Oh right. Republicans want to keep the Supreme Court seat held up for a couple of years.

Republicans are now suggesting that they need a pro-rata allotment of days before Sonia Sotomayor's hearings based on the time she's served on the bench. Which, we did the math, would come out to waiting 610 days before the senate can hold hearings on her confirmation. How does that make sense? Eric Kleefeld got their spokesman on the phone to see if they're really going to hold out for the full two years.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Seeing your system.

Bad Astronomer, Phil Plaitt has been pointing to a number of interesting vids of the solar system.

From the Japanese vessel, Kaguya, video of the moon's surface.

Here's one.

Kaguya is soon to meet it's end, slamming into the moon's surface.

Then a shot of Mercury. from Messenger.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Going sour on Oprah

It is nice to see some criticism of the Oprah empire in the media. Going after how she puts out pseudoscience and alt medicine is long over do.

Daily Dish:

Earlier this week, the Dish pointed to Newsweek's battle against the daytime TV demigod. Here's the money quote:
[T]the truth is, some of what Oprah promotes isn't good, and a lot of the advice her guests dispense on the show is just bad....Some of the many experts who cross her stage offer interesting and useful information (props to you, Dr. Oz). Others gush nonsense. Oprah, who holds up her guests as prophets, can't seem to tell the difference.

Dr. John Grohol wonders if Oprah will respond:
A very interesting controversy. It would be even more interesting to see Oprah address this controversy directly on a future show, inviting the Newsweek authors and some of the science bloggers on to discuss how this sort of media promotion can ultimately be a great disservice to her loyal viewers.

Sounds good. If Oprah wants to seriously rehabilitate her image and ways bringing on serious science and cut through the bull and crap would be of value.

Skeptic's Circle #112

Hey it is another Skeptic's Circle! And it is a skeptic party.

And it is all happening at Cheshire.