Are Draq Queens Modern Day Versions of Blackface?

I don’t see any significant difference between Blackface and Drag queens. Consider their descriptions from Wikipedia:

Blackface is a form of theatrical make-up used predominantly by non-black performers to represent a caricature of a black person. The practice gained popularity during the 19th century and contributed to the spread of racial stereotypes such as the “happy-go-lucky darky on the plantation” or the “dandified coon”.  By the middle of the century, blackface minstrel shows had become a distinctive American artform, translating formal works such as opera into popular terms for a general audience.

and

Drag queens are performance artists, almost always male, who dress in women’s clothing and often act with exaggerated femininity and in feminine gender roles with a primarily entertaining purpose. They often exaggerate make-up such as eyelashes for dramatic, comedic or satirical effect.

This makes me wonder if draq queens are modern-day, socially-acceptable forms of blackface.  In other words, a socially acceptable form of misogyny.

 

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Is the New Zealand Shooter a “Christian Terrorist?”

I have seen several Tweets out there now asserting that the New Zealand shooter was a “Christian terrorist.”  While it’s obvious he is a terrorist, is there any evidence he is a Christian?  I can’t find any.  All the evidence indicates this act of terrorism was secular.

First, the killer didn’t shout any religious/theological proclamations as he carried out his murders.

Second, as for his manifesto, this is its cover:

Note the complete lack of any Christian symbols.  What Christian would completely omit a Cross among all those other symbols?

Third, the manifesto offers no Christian or theological justification or rationale.  There is no mention of Jesus.  There is no mention of the Bible.  The Bible is not quoted.  And when it comes to God, the killer is very careful to make sure that the word “God” does not begin with a capital G:

  • The truth that the West killed the notion of god, and proceeded to replace it with nothing. Brought forth two competing ideologies(communism and fascism)to replace this loss of god, then proceeded to allow both sides to slaughter each other to a standstill and then let corporate backed capitalists tear the survivor to pieces.
  • The idea that a Frenchmen need not speak the language, share the culture, believe in the same god or even more importantly be ethnically French is ludicrous in the extreme.
  • Conservatism is dead. Thank god.

What group of people are well known for refusing to use a capital G when spelling God?

There are two places in his manifesto where he deals with the Christian identity.

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Posted in activism, Christianity, climate change, fascism, Secularism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

When Mass Murder Becomes Activism

I’m sure you have heard about the New Zealand shooting by now.  It is yet another horrible atrocity, but this time, I did watch the video and did read the killer’s manifesto.  There is something very creepy about it all.  It’s clear to me the killer carried out this horrific crime for its effect in the media and on the internet.  The murder of these innocent people was a means to reach an end – his vision of a “better world.”  In a sense, this mass murder was an example of…….internet activism.

The killer did what he did, and was able to do what he did, because for him, the ends justify the means.

Posted in activism, post-modernism, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 30 Comments

The Inevitability of Climate Change

A few days ago, social justice atheist PZ Myers had a blog post entitled, “Doom, doom, doom, doom.”  It links to an article describing just how bad the effects of climate change will be and PZ then comments:

Future generations — I mean, the current generation — will look back on this time and regard all those Republican climate change deniers as monsters committing crimes against humanity, and the rest of us as lazy good-for-nothings who couldn’t get off our butts to arrest the liars and frauds and greedy, corrupt short-term thinkers who are busily wrecking the planet for our species.

Ah yes, scapegoating and authoritarianism.  To be expected from social justice extremists and zealots.  But the problem is not that PZ would not get off his lazy butt to arrest the frauds and short-term thinkers.  The problem is that PZ would not get off his lazy butt and stop all his needless carbon pollution.

Let me give an example.

The next day, PZ posted a new blog entry –  If you poke a sewer rat in the eye, it doesn’t respond rationally – that draws attention to a YouTube video he made:  “I made a video criticizing a loony comic book guy who hates SJWs.”

Okay, so for some reason, it was important to him to go after some loony comic book guy who hates SJWs.  To each his own.  But just how much carbon pollution did PZ generate in doing so?

According to this site, 0.2 gm of CO2 are generated for every second of a video that is watched on the internet.  So let’s run the numbers.

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What Kids Can Do About Climate Change

On March 15th, kids are supposed to go on strike from school to protest the lack of action on climate change. 

In addition,

We strike to support the Green New Deal. Outrage has swept across the United States over the proposed legislation. Some balk at the cost of transitioning the country to renewable energy, while others recognize its far greater benefit to society as a whole. The Green New Deal is an investment in our future—and the future of generations beyond us—that will provide jobs, critical new infrastructure and most importantly, the drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions essential to limit global warming. And that is why we strike.

If you’ll recall, one thing the Green New Deal is supposed to accomplish is the elimination of air travel.  And that is interesting given there is something that generates a larger carbon footprint than air travel, something that is completely ignored by the Green New Deal – the internet. The Internet’s carbon footprint exceeds that of air travel.  As columnist John Harris notes, “Our phones and gadgets are now endangering the planet.”

Since the Green New Deal seeks ultimately to eliminate consumption of beef and air travel, why is the carbon-polluting internet untouched?

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Has Extraterrestrial Intelligence Been Discovered?

From this article:

jareth-nebula-frontal-hoodie-featuredJareth Nebula might live on earth but he firmly believes he belongs on another planet.

The 33-year-old, who was born a woman but transitioned to become a man when he was 29, now believes he doesn’t fit into any human gender and is, in fact, an alien .

The barber’s shop receptionist has even had his nipples removed and shaves his eyebrows to “make him feel less human”.

So is Jareth really an alien?  If so, this would establish this existence of ETI.  Looks to me look social justice advocates have a real philosophical dilemma here.  Either they don’t validate Jareth’s self-indentification by not agreeing Jareth is an alien, or they out themselves as a group of people who think aliens are among us.  So which is it?

Jareth offers some alien words of wisdom:

“Who is anyone to tell you who you can or can’t be? If someone wants to identify as anything, even an animal, let them.”

Ah, postmodernism in all its glory.  Look, if Jareth wants to identfy as an alien, it makes no difference to me.  The problem comes when Jareth tries to ram her beliefs down our throats and demands that we all agree Jareth is an alien.  Her logic is: If someone wants to identify as anything, even an animal, you must agree.  Yet I would reply: Who is anyone to tell you what you have to believe and think?

 

Posted in post-modernism, Social Justice, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 3 Comments

When Sam Harris Finally Made Sense To Me

Sam Harris had always been something of a mystery to me. How so? Harris is one of the Four Horsemen, along with Dawkins, Hitchens, and Dennett. But something didn’t make sense. I knew who Dawkins was. I knew who Hitchens was. I knew who Dennett was. They all were successful in their respective fields before ever becoming a Horseman. But Harris? He was a guy with a BA in Philosophy who wrote a book that Publishers Weekly described as “simplistic and misguided” and “ineffectual.” His arguments were not new or powerful. In fact, his book flirted with mysticism and reincarnation! So how did Harris ever become one of the Four Horsemen? He wasn’t accomplished, he wasn’t original, and he just wasn’t that smart.

Yes, he sold a lot of books. But there were atheists who were selling books long before Harris. Victor Stenger, for example. He was writing atheist articles and books long before Harris and Stenger was a physicist. But Harris’s book received attention from the media and Harris began getting published in the NYT, Newsweek, and other forms of mainstream media. Ah, maybe that’s they key. Harris, as one of the Four Horsemen, is a media creation. The media chose him. The media helped make him. How in the world did Harris pull that off?

Then, around 2006, I read an article that gave us some biograhphical information about Harris – he dropped out of college and travelled the world getting high and attending meditation retreats:

He flew around the country and around the world, to places such as India and Nepal, often for silent retreats that went on for months. One of his teachers was Sharon Salzberg, a co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Mass. Harris stood out, she recalls, not just because of his relative youth — everyone else was a generation older — but because of his intensity.
[…]
During his 11-year dropout phase, Harris read hundreds of books on religion, many of which are listed in the lengthy bibliography of “The End of Faith.” His interests eventually turned to philosophy of the mind, which led him to re-enroll at Stanford in 1997, this time to study philosophy. He wrote a lot before and after he got his diploma, but nothing was published.

There was a clue staring me in the face. Just how in the hell could someone who dropped out of college afford to spend 11 years traveling the world, attending retreats, reading books, and writing unpublished works? Someone who can fly around the country and world, “to places such as India and Nepal, often for silent retreats that went on for months,” is someone who comes from money.

And it looks like I was right.

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The New Atheist Movement: An Autopsy

There seem to be more and more articles out there trying to explain the demise of the New Atheist movement.  Since none of these articles seems especially insightful to me , as a long time observer of the New Atheist movement, I thought I would help explain this movement’s demise.

There are four primary factors that came together and devoured the movement.

1.Failure To Gain Traction in Academia. Soon after Dawkins published his book, The God Delusion, he chose to pick a fight with other atheists and scholars. Dawkins argued that the problem was not creationism or fundamentalism.  It ran deeper.  It was religion itself.  Dawkins then began to mock other atheists and previous allies by likening them to Neville Chamberlain.  The problem with the “Neville Chamberlain atheists” is they were willing to tolerate religious views as long they did not amount to hardcore fundamentalism.  Dawkins, who likened himself to Winston Churchill, insisted atheists must go on the attack against all religious people.

This militant attitude came to define the New Atheists.  They expanded this vocabulary and begin to mock other atheists and agnostics as “accomodationists” and eventually Jerry Coyne began to mock them as “faitheists.”  These were the days when Jerry Coyne was bashing Michael Ruse and Sam Harris was attacking Scott Atran.  These were the days when Coyne and Victor Stenger were arguing that most scientists were cowards for not wanting to help lead the attack against religion. And let’s not forget the way Jerry Coyne used his blog to hound and attack scholar Bart Ehrman while championing the crackpot views of blogger Richard Carrier.  Or the time that Sam Harris used the pages of the NYT to smear Francis Collins, arguing his religious views should prohibit him from heading the NIH.

All of this is much more significant than many people realize.  The New Atheists had always needed to expand their reach into academia.  In fact, that was one of their objectives in the 2006 Beyond Belief conference.  This is because for any movement on the Left to thrive, it needs the support of academia.  With academia on board, your movement has a plentiful supply of thinkers and advocates.  Your movement has a continual supply of new converts in the form of students.  What’s more, by housing your movement in academia, you increase the chance your movement will survive for generations, insulated from the ever changing socio-political terrain outside of academia.

Yet the New Atheists failed gloriously at acquiring any traction within academia. The reason is simple – the extreme, militant posturing of the New Atheists was perceived by many academic atheists as just another form of fundamentalism.  In other words, the assertions and behavior of the New Atheists was deemed embarrassing.  But don’t take my word for it.  Pay close attention to the words of a Nobel Laureate who had little patience for New Atheist antics:

Higgs has chosen to cap his remarkable 2012 with another bang by criticising the “fundamentalist” approach taken by Dawkins in dealing with religious believers.

“What Dawkins does too often is to concentrate his attack on fundamentalists. But there are many believers who are just not fundamentalists,” Higgs said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. “Fundamentalism is another problem. I mean, Dawkins in a way is almost a fundamentalist himself, of another kind.”

He agreed with some of Dawkins’ thoughts on the unfortunate consequences that have resulted from religious belief, but he was unhappy with the evolutionary biologist’s approach to dealing with believers and said he agreed with those who found Dawkins’ approach “embarrassing”.

Now couple this embarrassing fundamentalism to the manner in which the New Atheists lashed out at the “faitheists” and “accomodationists” and it should surprise no one that New Atheism never secured a serious foothold within academia.  Instead, all they accomplished was a) creating a population of scholars (atheist, agnostic, and theist) who greatly disliked them while b) ensuring that for their movement to survive, they now had to rely solely on media coverage.

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Evolution Fails to Support the Argument from Evil

Many years ago, Jason Rosenhouse argued with Michael Ruse, trying to show that evolution somehow amplifies the argument from evil.  Yet he failed.

Rosenhouse introduced Ruse’s argument as follows:

After quoting Darwin, who plainly did think that the general awfulness of nature militated against a belief in God, and after writing a bit about free will Ruse continues:

“In the case of physical evil, the dreadful earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, the traditional Christian answer, for all that Voltaire parodied it, is that of Leibniz — working by law results in good things and bad things, but overall the good outweighs the bad. God is constrained in what He does and in total He does the very best possible. Now of course there are questions about whether God had to create through law, although if He had not done so, it would be a very different world (and not arguably better) than the one we have now. For a start, He would have had to eliminate the thousands of pieces of evidence of evolution, or He would be a deceiver along the lines that Philip Gosse rather foolishly welcomed in the nineteenth century (on the grounds that God was testing our faith).”

The key point is this: “Now of course there are questions about whether God had to create through law, although if He had not done so, it would be a very different world (and not arguably better) than the one we have now.” This point is key because those who push the argument from evil almost always assume God could create our world in a way such that it retains all that we cherish (including ourselves), yet have all the evil cleanly stripped out of it.  Yet this cannot be done.  Rosenhouse’s reply fails because he has not come to this realization yet.  Watch.

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Coyne Denies He Ever Opposed Francis Collins’ Nomination to Head the NIH

Over at this web site, someone named Eddie wrote:

You’re saying the TE leaders should never have feared the reproach of the secular scientists. Well, tell that to Francis Collins, whose appointment to the NIH was originally opposed, or loudly groused about, by Jerry Coyne. Coyne said that no one who could believe a man rose from the dead should be the head of a publicly funded scientific organization. (I paraphrase.) So the attitude that Christian scientists are smart when they do good science, but dumb when they affirm miracles, is out there, whether you care to admit it or not.

Patrick quoted Eddie and wrote the following for Jerry Coyne:

I know that you opposed Francis Collins for NIH Director. Now that he has been on the job for a long time, how would you rate him as an NIH Director? Compared to V.P. Pence, Ben Carson, and other YEC in the current Trump administration, I consider a Christian Francis Collins as doing a great job.

Coyne replied:

I’m sorry but you are making it up. I never opposed Collins being director of the NIH. I said I opposed his actions using his position as head government scientist to proselytize for theology and Christianity and to make statements about fine-tuning and the like. And I believe I said several times that I didn’t think he should be removed as director, and that he was a good scientist.

I have criticized the man strongly for mixing faith and science but have never called for his resignation; in fact, I have said the contrary.

It looks like Coyne is trying to rewrite history to cleanse his opposition to Collin’s nomination to head the NIH.  First of all, Coyne did indeed call for Collins’ resignation.  In July of 2010, he wrote:

A while back I wrote about Francis Collins’s new edited collection, Belief: Reading on the Reason for Faith, and, deciding he had crossed the line between science and woo, recommended that he step down as director of the National Institutes of Health.

He was referring to something he posted on February of 2010:

Enough is enough.  Collins is director of the NIH, and is using his office to argue publicly that scientific evidence—the Big Bang, the “Moral Law” and so forth—points to the existence of a God.  That is blurring the lines between faith and science: exactly what I hoped he would not do when he took his new job.

Collins gets away with this kind of stuff only because, in America, Christianity is a socially sanctioned superstition.  He’s the chief government scientist, but he won’t stop conflating science and faith.  He had his chance, and he blew it.  He should step down.

As you can see with your own eyes, when Coyne claims he “never called for his resignation,” he is not telling the truth.

As for Coyne never having opposed Collins being director of the NIH, it is true that he never wrote the exact words, “I oppose the nomination of Collins.”  But the evidence clearly indicates he did oppose the nomination.

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