Archive for the “Fuzzy Thinking” Category

Examples of fuzzy thinking, illogic, absurdity, etc.

Crying baby / a4gpa, via FlickrI blogged about Kim Davis, county clerk for Rowan county KY, who’s launched a legal war over gay marriage. In order to avoid granting licenses to gay couples she has refused to issue any marriage licenses at all, since the Obergefell v. Hodges decision came down from the Supreme Court.

Things ratcheted up when the Supreme Court refused to grant Ms Davis any relief from lower court orders yesterday, and couples showed up this morning to get licenses. As the Washington Post reports, like a little child, she still refuses to do her job and obey court rulings that directed her to grant licenses (WebCite cached article):

Kim Davis, the county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite a Supreme Court ruling against her request to be excused from doing so, said at the Rowan County Courthouse on Tuesday that she was acting “under God’s authority.”

WaPo relays a defiant rant she issued via her collaborators at Liberty Counsel/a> run by Christofascist Mat Staver, who’s acting as her attorney — but who, in all likelihood, is calling the shots for her. (To be clear, Staver and his militant outfit do not want “liberty” for anyone but themselves. What they want is to force each and every American to have to live according to the strictures of their own dour metaphysics, whether they wish to or not.)

This rant — which I won’t dignify here by quoting it or linking to it — claims Ms Davis has authority from God to defy even the US Supreme Court; implies she will go to Hell if she obeys court orders; and asserts she’s doing what she did because she loves Jesus (who, she says, died for her), and that in turn happened because she went to church to please her then-dying mother-in-law. Yes, it’s a pathetic, sappy, sentimental, self-pitying diatribe which his sure to tug at the heartstrings of her fellow Christianists but really says nothing of importance.

One of the claims in her piteous whine is the assertion that gay marriage violates Jesus’ teachings as recorded in scripture. That is absofuckinglutely untrue. The Bible does not report that Jesus ever said a single fucking word about gay marriage. Those words are not there. At all. I defy anyone to cite chapter and verse from the gospels that says otherwise. For her to say so is a lie. This places the sanctimonious Ms Davis in my “lying liars for Jesus” club.

Oh, and the kicker here is that, while she’s refusing to issue any marriage licenses in an effort to uphold what she says is Jesus’ injunction against gay marriage, Ms Davis has, herself, violated Jesus’ teachings about divorce. Buzzfeed reports she’s been divorced not just once or twice, but three times (cached):

According to Rowan County records obtained by BuzzFeed News, Davis has been divorced three times. When she married Joe Davis on Aug. 24, 2009, it was her fourth marriage — and her second to Joe, whom she previously married on the same day 13 years earlier. After her first marriage to Dwain Wallace in 1984, she married Thomas McIntyre Jr. in 2007 in between her marriages to Joe Davis.

The curious thing about this is, while Jesus is not reported in the pages of the Bible to have issued any prohibition against gay marriage, he did condemn divorce:

It was said, “Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce”; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (Mt 5:31-32)

Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery. (Lk 16:18)

Trying to block gay marriage while having divorced, all in the name of her Jesus, makes Ms Davis a flaming hypocrite. Unfortunately for her, hypocrisy is something her Jesus explicitly also forbid her to engage in. Woops!

The AP reports via Yahoo News that Ms Davis and her staff have been summoned to federal court on Thursday (cached). A contempt citation is certain. I doubt that will change this Christofascist woman’s mind. I suspect she’ll continue this legal war until she’s somehow driven out of her job … but how long that might take, I have no idea. It’ll depend on the amount of patience the federal courts have.

Photo credit: a4gpa, via Flickr.

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Derivative work of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Paris_Tuileries_Garden_Facepalm_statue.jpgThis is one I missed from about a week ago. You’ll have to excuse me, the flurry of ridiculous and insane bullshit piling up around Donald Trump has gotten so high it’s hard to keep track of it any more. The Trumpster just declared himself a general in the (non-existent) “war on Christmas,” as Mediaite reports, during a radio appearance (WebCite cached article):

“There’s an assault on anything having to do with Christianity,” Trump told Yellowhammer Radio host Cliff Sims on Friday. “They don’t want to use the word Christmas anymore at department stores…. There’s always lawsuits and unfortunately a lot of those lawsuits are won by the other side.”

As president, Trump vowed, “I will assault that. I will go so strongly against so many of the things, when they take away the word Christmas.”

I note that August isn’t even over yet, but I’ve already posted two entries in my annual “war on Christmas” series this year.

At any rate, the idea that saying “Merry Christmas” has been outlawed, is not fucking true. I challenge the Trumpster — or anyone else — to provide me with the text of any law or court decision that forbids it. The cold fact is that no one has “take[n] away the word Christmas.” It’s still in every English dictionary you’ll ever find and all Americans are free to say it as often as they want. To say otherwise is an outright fucking lie.

It’s kind of funny how the Trumpster has suddenly and magically become a warrior for Jesus. On more than one occasion he’s claimed the Bible is his favorite book … although he refuses to name any favorite Bible passage (cached). Hmm.

In any event, the Trumpster’s lie that the word Christmas no longer may be spoken, places him in my “lying liars for Jesus” club. Even though I’m not convinced he’s much of a Christian — nor is the church he says he attends (cached).

Photo credit: Wikipedia.

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Rainbow flag breezeThe Religious Right is still pitching fits all over the place over the fact that gay marriage is now legal throughout the US. It’s natural that they’d go apeshit over Obergefell v. Hodges, because it forces them to treat gays as equals rather than as second-class citizens. And they can’t stand that.

But it seems Rowan county, Kentucky has become a nexus of contention over the matter. County Clerk Kim Davis has decided that, due to her Christianity, no gays in her county should be able to marry. Her Christianity, you see, prevents her from letting it happen. WKYT-TV in Lexington reports on how legal warfare is beginning to pile up over her childishness (WebCite cached article):

A flurry of activity happened Friday afternoon in the case of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, including an apparent effort to have her charged with official misconduct.

Friday afternoon, Davis, who refuses to issue marriage licenses despite a court order, said in court documents that she filed an emergency petition with the Supreme Court to have a justice review her appeal. A spokeswoman with the Supreme Court told WKYT they had not received the petition as of Friday afternoon.

Davis apparently submitted that filing to the Supreme Court and then asked U.S. District Judge David Bunning to extend his stay– which is scheduled to expire Aug. 31 — on his marriage license order while she appeals to the Supreme Court. Bunning responded hours later, denying that request.

Meanwhile, the Rowan County Attorney’s Office said on Friday that it has referred to the Attorney General’s Office a charge of official misconduct against Davis.

If Ms Davis doesn’t want to do her job according to the law and issue licenses for gay marriages, there’s a simple and easy solution that doesn’t require her to violate her religion, and that is for her to just fucking resign and let someone else take over the job who’s willing to do it.

See how easy that was? What need is there to resort to the Supreme Court … again? Especially when she’s likely to lose?

Oh wait, I can answer that: It’s because she wants to feel persecuted for Jesus because that desire is part and parcel of the psychopathology of her religion. Going to court and losing is, in a perverse way, exactly what she wants!

Update: Yesterday the Supreme Court turned aside her request (cached). She’s going to have to decide whether or not to fulfill her duties as a county clerk.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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crybaby bill-o / Steven Perez, via FlickrJust a couple days ago I blogged about the Christianist phenomenon of “disaster theology” wherein terrible events are blamed on sinfulness, gay marriage, abortion, fornication, etc. in an effort to keep “the faithful” perpetually angry about — well, about whatever-it-is the faithful are supposed to stay worked up about. The WDBJ shooting near Moneta, VA yesterday morning (cached) provides yet another sterling example of “disaster theology.” As Mediaite reports, this one came from the sanctimonious mouth of the sanctimonious Bill O’Reilly (cached):

Bill O’Reilly tonight connected the WDBJ shooting to America “turning away from spiritualism” and saying that nearly every killer he’s ever reported on has believed in nothing.

O’Reilly cited “rise in nihilism and a decline in spiritual belief,” as well as the declining number of Americans identifying as Christians and the increasing number of Americans identifying as religiously innovated, to connect this to what influences killers with “few restraints in their lives.”

O’Reilly went on to make a crazed generalization:

[His guest, psychotherapist Karen Ruskin] insisted that mental illness doesn’t discriminate whether you’re a believer or non-believer, but O’Reilly insisted, “Every single murderer over 40 years that I have covered in these circumstances has been either atheistic, agnostic, no religious basis at all.”

He again asked, “Can you point to one person who committed mass murder recently that had a religious background? You cannot.”

The Mediaite story doesn’t say whether or not Ruskin had any response to that. But I can easily point out murderers … mass murderers, even … who were most assuredly religious:

Oh, and in addition to all of the above … there’s the fact that most people in American prisons aren’t non-religious, which O’Reilly contends. Quite the opposite: It turns out, rather, they’re mostly all Christian (cached).

O’Reilly also whined about people “practicing” nihilism. I have no idea what he could have meant by that. This statement is a non sequitur since nihilism isn’t something a person can “practice.”

He did concede that “jihadism” could be a form of religious violence, but he sectioned it off as its own thing, as though it weren’t relevant to what he was saying. Really, though, it’s indeed quite relevant, if inconvenient for Billy and his Christianism. Jihadism is a fanatical and violent form religionism, an Islamic version of the exact same impulse followed by all the anti-abortion murderers I listed above.

Billy’s claim that all murderers are non-religious is just plain fucking untrue … and Billy himself can’t possibly be so ignorant or stupid as to think it is. He just said it because he knows his audience will lap it up — because they’re all both ignorant and stupid. So that lie puts him in my “lying liars for Jesus” club, where he’ll find a lot of his friends.

One last thing: When Billy talked up the virtues and importance of “spiritualism,” I don’t think that’s what he meant. I think he meant “spirituality.” “Spiritualism” is something else, and I don’t think it’s something a devout Catholic — which Billy supposedly is — would really care much for.

Photo credit: Steven Perez, via Flickr.

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'Wifi equals Death!' the battle-cry of electrosensitives / PsiCop, based on originals by shokunin & johnny automatic at Open Clip Art LibraryThree years ago, I blogged about a California woman who went to court because, she claims, municipal wifi devices made her sick. Well, it seems a family in Massachusetts is playing the same game. As the Worcester Telgram & Gazette reports, they’re suing a private school because its wifi service afflicted their child (WebCite cached article):

The family of a student at the Fay School in Southboro has filed a lawsuit claiming the school’s strong Wi-Fi signal caused the boy to become ill.

The unidentified plaintiffs, referred to as “Mother” and “Father” in the complaint, said their 12-year-old son, “G,” suffers from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome, a condition that is aggravated by electromagnetic radiation. The boy was diagnosed after he frequently experienced headaches, nosebleeds, nausea, and other symptoms while sitting in class after the school installed a new, more powerful wireless Internet system in 2013, the suit says.…

Along with the complaint, the plaintiffs submitted to the court several letters from doctors confirming the adverse health effects the school’s Wi-Fi, which the family says “emits substantially greater radiofrequency/microwave emissions than … more low-grade systems used in most homes,” could be causing illness in a sufferer of EHS.

It’s true that wifi systems intended to service the public, especially on school campuses, are more powerful than home-grade wifi equipment. It has to be, because it needs to reach over a much larger space and accommodate many more devices. To think wifi at a private school can’t be any more powerful than what’s found in homes, is asinine and ridiculous.

As I blogged previously, though, and as the T&G story explains, electrosensivity is not a recognized medical condition. But that’s not for a lack of examination of “EHS,” as the WHO explains:

A number of studies have been conducted where EHS individuals were exposed to EMF similar to those that they attributed to the cause of their symptoms. The aim was to elicit symptoms under controlled laboratory conditions.

The majority of studies indicate that EHS individuals cannot detect EMF exposure any more accurately than non-EHS individuals. Well controlled and conducted double-blind studies have shown that symptoms were not correlated with EMF exposure.

That this family could find “doctors” willing to write letters to the court supporting their EHS claim, doesn’t mean much. If one is willing to pay enough, one can usually find “experts” in almost any field willing to say almost anything about it.

The question isn’t whether one or two — or even 10 or 20 — individual doctors say EHS is real: Rather, it’s whether the medical community as a whole, which is quite large, says it is. At the moment, given the studies done to date, the vast majority of medicine has determined electrosensitivity is pseudoscience — i.e. non-existent and a lie. And that remains true no matter how fervently this family believes otherwise or how many doctors their lawyer can convince to line up behind them.

P.S. None of this means there can’t be any drama associated with electrosensitivity. Michael McKean is great fun to watch as Chuck McGill on Better Call Saul, perhaps the most famous electrosensitive in the country … even if he’s purely fictional.

Photo credit: PsiCop graphic, based on originals by shokunin & johnny_automatic, both via Open Clip Art Library.

Hat tip: Rational Wiki.

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'Armageddon: Anything one doesn't like is the equivalent of a nuclear blast' / PsiCop original graphicBeneath American Christendom lurks a stream of what I refer to as “disaster theology.” It’s the idea that pretty much anything bad that happens, occurs because God is upset about some societal failure. He’s angry with humanity, so he takes out his rage on us. This tactic is a way to invoke terror among believers, inciting them to do something about the societal failure — whatever it may be — before some other (usually worse) disaster happens. Lots of Christianists use this tactic as part of their ongoing “psy-ops” campaigns, keeping the faithful all frothed up and in a tizzy. And the faithful, of course, are too ignorant, gullible, and/or stupid to realize how asinine it all is, or understand they’re being manipulated.

The frequency with which Christianists use “disaster theology” prevents me from calling attention to all of them. Otherwise I’d do nothing all day but post examples of this phenomenon. Most of the time, I remark only on the more egregious or cruel examples of it, such as when massacres are used this way. That people would use such events as weapons in their “psy-cops” warfare is horrific, and demonstrates their total lack of character.

But today one such incident happened which isn’t cruel, it’s just plain absurd — and laughably so. As such it provides a stellar example of how truly asinine the “disaster theology” tactic is. As Right Wing Watch both explains and shows, it came from the mouth of none other than Marion “Pat” Robertson (WebCite cached article):

Televangelist Pat Robertson responded to the dramatic market sell-off today by suggesting that it was only a foretaste of God’s judgment for legal abortion and federal funding of Planned Parenthood.…

“We will pay dearly as a nation for this thing going on,” he said. “And possibly if we were to stop all this slaughter the judgment of God might be lifted from us. But it’s coming, ladies and gentlemen. We just had a little taste of it in terms of the financial system, but it’s going to be shaken to its core in the next few months, years or however long it tastes and it will hurt every one of us.”

Earlier in the program, Robertson claimed that the market crash was prophesied by Jonathan Cahn, who believes that something bad will happen in late September as part of the biblical Shemittah cycle. Today’s market turmoil, according to Robertson, is a sign that conditions will only get worse next month.

“This thing is hitting with great force and if Cahn is right on that Shemittah we could be in for some really rough days in the markets,” he said, before urging his viewers to buy gold in preparation for greater market deterioration.

This is ridiculous and laughable for two reasons:

First, the stock markets tanked for a very well-known reason. It’s one that’s been widely reported in numerous media outlets: An economic seizure in China, which has ripple effects in other markets around the world (cached). One might ask why there’s so much market trouble coming out of China, but it’s been building for a couple months, due to the popping of China’s stock market bubble in June (cached). And why, one might further ask, did China’s stock market bubble burst? That’s actually a stupid question: All market bubbles burst at some point. It’s inevitable! The question isn’t whether or not they will, it’s when. The causes of today’s stock market “correction” are well known, and something of this sort has been anticipated for a while. Appeals to the supernatural aren’t necessary … and corrections, while disruptive in the short term, are actually a normal part of healthy markets.

Second, all the caterwauling about government spending on abortions, and especially all the called lately to “defund Planned Parenthood,” ignores a very salient fact: No federal money is ever spent on abortions, due to something called the Hyde Amendment, which has been in force in one way or another since 1976. That’s right, since the mid-70s not one red cent of federal money has ever been spent on abortions! Robertson, and the rest of the bellicose Religious Right, is whining about something that isn’t actually the problem he claims it is.

Note, too, Robertson’s call to action … specifically for his viewers to buy gold. For many years now, Robertson has had a personal financial interest in gold, himself. For instance, he’s had mining interests in Africa which have caused him to get caught up in the affairs of dictators there (cached), as well as any number of other unsavory characters.

(I note a lot of folks over on the Right have a fascination with selling gold; many Rightist pundits’ shows feature gold-broker advertisements, and folks like Ron Paul are heavily invested in gold, as well (cached). These people are not looking out for the interests of their viewers/readers/listeners/followers … they’re actually trying to fatten their own wallets, at their viewers/readers/listeners/followers’ expense!)

It’s funny how a guy who’s so concerned about abortions, just happens to discern a course of action (i.e. buying gold) for his viewers to follow which — conveniently for him! — also just happens to be something he stands to profit from (via his gold-industry investments). Hmm. Coincidence? I think not!

Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.

Photo credit: PsiCop original graphic.

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'... but it CAN'T be TERRORISM if Christians did it!' / PsiCop original graphicYesterday the world was treated to yet another story of yet another terror attack by a sanctimoniously-enraged Islamist — this time, on a high-speed train out of Paris, during which the attacker was subdued (WebCite cached version). This kind of shit is just horrific. Clearly there’s something about Islam which triggers this sort of raging terror.

It’s not just “lone-wolf” attacks of this sort, either; Muslims around the world have massed together, rioting, maiming, and murdering over things like apostasy and blasphemy. Not to mention, there are also many Islamist organizations (e.g. ISIS/ISIL/IS/whatever-the-fuck-you-want-to-call-that-savage-brood, the al-Nusra Front, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, etc.) which are currently engaged in religiously-driven wars with virtually everyone around them.

So if someone wants to posit that Islam can’t compel violence, I beg to differ. The evidence clearly demonstrates that it can, and does, promote the worst sort of violence. I concede not all Muslims are terrorists, nor do I even think most are. Nor do I think — as a lot of Neocrusaders here in the US claim — that all Muslims everywhere are prone to violence and terror. No way.

But even having admitted there’s some sort of festering sore deep in the heart of Islam, that’s not to say terrorism and violence are unique to that religion. That also is demonstrably untrue. Nearly all religions have this problem. Yes, even Buddhism — which many think is as pacifist a religion as can be found. That presumption is absolutely unfounded (cached).

Among all of this, though, is a form of terror triggered by a religion which is much closer to home to Americans. And that is, Christian terrorism. Yes, that’s what I said: Christian terrorism. Rest assured, it really exists. Unfortunately it doesn’t get anywhere near as much attention as Islamist terror does. Yes, it’s true that Christian terror attacks are much less common than those of Islamists, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a problem that needs to be addressed.

There was the assassination of Dr George Tiller by a Christianist anti-abortion crusader (cached). There were attacks on Sikh temples (cached) and on Unitarian Universalist churches (cached).

“Oh, but all of those were just crazy criminals being crazy criminals,” one might say. “What could their Christianity have to do with it?” It’s true there’s criminality in these guys, and it may also be that some or all had mental illnesses. But non-terrorist Muslims could easily say the very same about Islamist terrorists. Neither of these objections really holds up to scrutiny. The ability to use a religion to rationalize one’s own murderous impulses, doesn’t say anything good about the religion; one would think a truly divine faith taught by the Almighty himself ought not be used that way.

“Oh, and these all happened years ago,” one might also contend. “They’re in the past.” One could easily say that, since the Wisconsin Sikh temple massacre took place 3 years ago, and the other attacks were in 2008 and 2009. But … that contention ignores the fact that there have also been much more recent examples of Christian terrorism.

For instance, Larry McQuilliams — a member of the (Christian) Phineas Priesthood — shot up Austin TX just last December (cached). An avowed Christian and former GOP Congressional candidate was indicted just a couple months ago for conspiring to kill Muslims in upstate New York (cached). Another Christian and KKK member in New York state was just convicted of conspiring to kill Muslims and the president using some kind of radiation weapon (cached). And just a few days ago, one Moises Trevizo tried to bomb the Kansas clinic that Dr George Tiller had worked at (cached). None of these occurred in the deep, dark recesses of history. They’re all recent developments. They happened; the attempted bombing in Wichita was, as I said, just a few days ago. And they matter.

But you wouldn’t get that impression from the mass media. It’s not that these stories have gone unreported … obviously they aren’t, since I linked to news outlets’ coverage of them. The problem is, these Christians’ terror attacks don’t get wall-to-wall coverage, nor has there been any kind of impulsive response to Christianity because of them. That just doesn’t happen. And whenever these stories are reported, the connection with Christianity usually isn’t made clear. For instance, the just-convicted Glendon Scott Crawford is reported to have been a member of the KKK, but that organization — like all forms of white supremacy in the US — is a basically Christian one (cached) whose ideas are founded on a particular set of legends based on that religion (and forked off 19th century British-Israelism, which I’ve blogged about a couple times).

A reason for the mass media to understate the “Christian” impulses behind these attacks is both simple and obvious: Christianity is the country’s majority religion, meaning lots of readers/viewers/listeners would be offended to hear their faith provoked these incidents of terrorism. And offended readers/viewers/listeners don’t buy newspapers or magazines, they don’t keep reading articles on the Web, and they change the radio or television channel. Sadly, this means the media are pandering to Americans’ immaturity … because only immaturity can explain why one wouldn’t want to know that one’s own co-religionists are using the faith to justify terrorism. It’s time for people of every religion on earth to take responsibility for their faiths — whichever one they belong to — and start watching out for its integrity. But this takes courage, which is in short supply. More’s the pity.

Photo credit: PsiCop original graphic.

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