Archive for the 'Insanity' Category

This is the best headline ever.

Really, you have to see it for yourself.  What a wonderful way to highlight how absurd some of the GOP’s core economic mores are.

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Rush Limbaugh is a disease

I’m so sick of this man.  It’s like he made a bet to see how vile and ignorant he could act and still keep an audience.  He’s criticized Obama for helping Haiti, tried to connect the eruption in Iceland to Healthcare reform and even mused about segregating buses again.  He might as well go all the way and wear a white, pointy hood to work from now on. 

Now he’s suggesting that “whacko environmentalists” are behind the recent oil spill .  Seriously.  This is what has become mainstream in American politics.

Your Weekly Dose of WTF

From the inimitable Michel Bachmann, appearing on the Sean Hannity Show: 

Bachmann: Oh sure, that’s all they have left now, is they use pejorative terms, hateful terms, against those who are carrying the message. So whether they’re attacking conservative talk radio, or conservative TV, or whether it’s Internet sites — I mean, let’s face it, what’s the Obama administration doing? They’re advocating net neutrality, which is essentially censorship of the Internet!

This is the Obama administration advocating censorship of the Internet. Why? They want to silence the voices that are opposing them.

My jaw is completely unhinged.  She’s been inhaling too much CO2.  What kind of mouth breathing lunatics could possibly elect this woman to Congress not once, but twice?  Thanks to Ed Brayton for the find.

Oh Em Jee, did I actually think like this once?

Saddle yourselves up for the world of the creepy.  This article, pulled from Sultan.org, presents twelve “proofs” that Muhammad was a real prophet of God.  Naturally, nothing of the nature is contained therein, but the article is absolutely oozing with praise for Muhammad at every possible turn.  I don’t think that author was typing with both hands while he wrote it, if you know what I mean. Just look at all of the typos.  It borders on the impossible to even discuss some of his claims because of how repetitive the whole article is.  To add insult to injury (I guess), anybody who disagrees with the findings of this world-class historian is an “arrogant” infidel.   I think I’ll take any absence of association with this man as a compliment, so paint me pagan for all I care.

Consider claim number ten:

Muhammad described Allah with qualities of complete perfection, and at the same time in a manner that is free of ascribing to Him any imperfection. Neither the philosophers nor the wise could ever describe Allah like such. Indeed it is impossible to imagine that any human mind could conceive of an existing being that possesses such complete ability, knowledge, and greatness; who has subdued the creation; that has encompassed everything in the universe, small or large; and who possesses such perfect mercy.

So in short, Muhammad must have been a prophet because he described a perfect god.  That’s proof?  Does that make me a prophet for cherry coke, the perfect soda?

Or try number eleven (which is almost identical to number four), for laughs:

It is impossible that any person conceive wisdom, morals, good manners, nobleness of characters as what this honorable Prophet (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) brought.

This one is subjective and depends on what people actually consider wise and noble.  In other words, it’s also complete bullshit.  Granted, there are plenty of ethical principles that are shared by most cultures today, which Muhammad would have flagrantly violated were he a contemporary figure.  Remember that he slept with a nine year-old, and had all of the Jewish men from an enemy tribe in Medina slaughtered while their families were enslaved.

By the way, I don’t care about context or the kind of time Muhammad was living in.  Yes, slavery and child marriages were common historically, but that excuse doesn’t fly if the figure you’re trying to pass off also proclaimed his own way of doing things valid until the end of the Earth.  In places where young brides are still allowed, like in Yemen, death during child birth or even after sexual intercourse with their husbands also remains a grim occurrence.  We should be able to expect better from a person we’re supposed to follow in every way conceivable.

Claim number twelve:

The legal and creedal make-up of the religion that the Messenger, Muhammad, (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) brought resembles the engineering of the heavens and the earth. All of that indicates that He who created the heavens and the earth is the One Who sent down this great law and upright religion.

Find anything in common?

We scare because we care

I personally don’t favor lampooning Muhammad.  It’s a bad PR move on behalf of Western society, since this is a man so highly revered in Islamic culture that many Muslims actually try to sleep and shit the same way he did.  So it’s not wrong and it’s certainly not a crime, but I simply think there are better ways of inviting Muslims to think more critically about their faith.  This sort of advice goes both ways, though, for surely if satire is misguided then death threats in response thereto are… well, you know.

Our friends at Revolutionmuslim.com are warning the creators of South Park that they could face some hefty punishment for their crimes.  Did I say crimes?  Yes, because as the English language continues to evolve words change to take on different meanings.  Exciting!  Crime in this case means something as harmless as drawing a picture of Muhammad while he wears a bear suit.  But this is totally not a threat:

We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show.  This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them.

It’s great that they’ve cleared everything up for us.  By the way, Theo Van Gogh was another artist who criticized Islam.  For the uninformed, he wasn’t sued or fired from his job.  He was stabbed, among other things.  And these people certainly don’t want that to happen again, right?

Well, they probably do. But I’m still going to give Revolutionmuslim.com the benefit of the doubt as well as some helpful advice: You’re a bunch of raving morons. Nothing could possibly say “we care” less than telling your opponents that they’re probably going to die horrendously, especially if you’re speaking on behalf of a group that’s known to be monitored by the United Sates government for its extremism. Why not call the police instead if you think someone might be in danger?

Yusuf Estes and Evolution

Here’s a riddle: How do you make a creationist look ridiculous?  You quote them, although a video will do just as well.  One of the absolute worst creationists is Muslim “scholar” Yusuf Estes.  The video is here, for your masochistic enjoyment:

I admit when I first saw this video my brain chickened out on me.  I had no idea what the hell kind of point Yusuf Estes was trying to make about the monkeys, or how on Earth it could have anything to do with evolution.  I’ve been a biology/paleontology enthusiast since I was old enough to count, read a small mountain of books covering both subjects, and alas, failed to come across anything that says the existence of other primates invalidates evolution.  Why should it?  Evolution explains the diversity of life and how such came to pass, and so of course there are going to be plenty of life forms out there that are related to us and resemble human beings in various degrees.

The only truly interesting/novel part of the video is where Estes advertises a contact of his, Dr. Fatima Jackson from the University of Maryland.  Even here, however, he doesn’t fail to disappoint.  Here is a “robust” list of the claims he makes against evolution, the last two in her name:

  1.  All of the animals featured in a painting called March of Progress are still alive today [they aren’t], and therefore evolution is untrue. This is the weakest objection of all, because March of Progress is merely a painting depicting the evolution of man, and has nothing to do with the scientific evidence. It isn’t even accurate as an overall description of human evolution, since modern humans are not the result of straightforward progression but the sole survivors of a once much larger and more diverse group of animals.
  2. All of the species of extinct hominids lived at the same time.  Not only does this statement contradict his first claim, which is pretty comical in itself, it is also false.  Take two species for example, Homo neanderthalensis and Australopithecus africanus.  Both lived roughly two million years apart.  A. africanus went extinct 2.3 million years ago, shortly after the species Homo habilis evolved.  H. neanderthalensis evolved in Europe around the same time as our own species did in Africa and only died out about 18,000 years before the historical era began. (Neanderthals, by the way, were not our ancestors, but close cousins.)   Similar claims can be made for Homo heidelbergensis and Paranthropus boisei, and so on and so forth.
  3. Since different species of hominids lived together, they could not have evolved from one another and evolution must be false.  Again, buzz! Wrong.  Nobody is claiming that they all developed from each other. Instead, they all descend from a common ancestor that lived approximately seven million years ago.  And because again natural selection is not some march of progress into the direction of humanity, but rather a filter that favors the traits which provide the most benefit for the individual bearing them, it really doesn’t matter if related animals live at the same time.  Keep in mind that many of the species of early hominids had different lifestyles, and did not always complete with each other.  Some were primarily vegetarians who lived in tropical eastern Africa.  Others were predators that took on animals as large as deer and mammoths and lived in Europe during the ice ages. 

Estes’ arguments are nothing new.  They’re based upon a common misconception that evolution is some sort of ladder of advancement whereby animals must become increasingly more human-like or perish.  I’ve never come across anything written by a credible biologist that suggests such, and therein the explanation for my initial inability to understand Estes’ what-could-only-be-very-charitably-called reasoning lies.  The speaker is attacking a caricature of modern biology, nothing more.

The rest is also the normal slop.  You know how it rolls.  Scientists are on the run and don’t know how to respond to creationist claims, Intelligent Design advocates are being persecuted in America, “Evolutionists” lie, and well, whatever.  The absolute worst was the proud affirmation “you can’t disprove that God exists!”  People are justified in asking for more responsible logic, Estes, given the fact that your own religion provides a complex framework for affairs as diverse as government, art, and even capital punishment.  It just shouldn’t be accepted on a whim.

Yusuf Estes, you should be ashamed of yourself.  You aren’t just wrong in the epistemological sense of the word; you’re morally bankrupt if you think that it’s OK to lecture crowds of people on subjects you plainly don’t have a clue about while claiming otherwise.  Being misled by creationist apologetics (Harun Yahya’s work, for example) is understandable.  But that excuse evaporates the moment you decide to sell a discredited idea without doing the hard work, which involves actually reading papers and books written by biologists that explain the mainstream perspective on the subject.  You’re ruthlessly promoting ignorance about one of the cornerstones of science and what is also an indispensible approach to modern medicine, thereby wronging the people who trust you.  And you laugh while you do it.  You disgust me, and I can’t believe that I once actually looked up to you myself.

And no, Estes, “real scientists” don’t give up when they don’t understand how something works.  And they certainly don’t try to plug their own cultural biases – in this case the God of Abrahamic religion – when looking for an explanation.  Science is more rigorous than that.  Good scientists work hard until their research can yield testable answers, and then they submit their conclusions to other experts in relevant fields so they can be challenged if something is wrong.  Charles Darwin himself spent twenty years experimenting with his ideas and collecting specimens before publishing his book.  That is how true science functions.

You fail.

Horrible NYT Article about the Texas BOE

I know I’m a little late to the scene here, but this article in the New York Times over the Texas Board of Education is so awful that I must share it with you, or else I’ll find myself chased by Don McLeroy in my dreams.  This one passage in particular is especially revolting:

In reality, this controversy is the latest version of a debate that reaches back many decades and is perhaps essential in a heterogeneous democracy whose identity has long been in flux.

Complete bullshit.  Cutting out an enormous figure in the American Revolution and the Enlightenment out of textbooks just because you don’t like what he said is about as far away from essential as one can get.  It means that an entire generation of teenagers who will someday be expected to vote won’t even know who the hell wrote the Declaration of Independence.   Deliberately keeping people ignorant so they’ll digest some of your own values better is hardly short of lying.

The “controversy” is more like a moral outrage.  Whoever wrote this seriously needs to look for a career other than journalism.  Some issues just don’t have two sides to them.