Facebook caves to religious demands

A short time ago there was a Facebook group which advocated drawing Mohammed. It was part of a larger project to bring home the point that nothing so silly should be held sacred. (And, in fact, nothing at all should be held sacred.) In response, Pakistan blocked Facebook. They were apparently outraged at all the depictions of their prophet child rapist. In response to that, Facebook caved.

“In response to our protest, Facebook has tendered their apology and informed us that all the sacrilegious material has been removed from the URL,” said Najibullah Malik, secretary of Pakistan’s information technology ministry, referring to the technical term for a Web page.

Facebook assured the Pakistani government that “nothing of this sort will happen in the future,” Malik said.

You got that, you 500 million Facebookers? You can communicate with your friends, family, co-workers; you can share ideas, links, videos, pictures; you can discuss politics, religion, philosophy, science; you can do it all! You just have to do it within a narrow framework which gives undue respect to a murderous, misogynistic religion that advocates dogma and ideology.

Thought of the day

So many dolts are more than happy to believe that it’s okay to demand the president lead the nation in prayer or that “under God” is historical, not religious in nature. Yet it remains:

  • 1952 – National Day of Prayer
  • 1952 – National Prayer Breakfast
  • 1954 – “under God” added to the Pledge
  • 1956 – “In God We Trust” becomes national motto

U.S. politicians did not suddenly become interested in the Christian history of the U.S. in the 50’s – if they did, they would have realized that we are not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. No. Instead they were merely gathering votes by fostering a favorable atmosphere for religion – one filled with fear and rhetoric. It all entirely connects to the Second Red Scare: say those evil commies hate God and that’s going to be a big boom to the political well being of the dominate religion.

Because apparently it’s a slow news day

My local paper, the Kennebec Journal, has an article today about ghost hunters.

Florence Drake, the Readfield Historical Society president, will be especially interested in the investigation’s outcome.

She and the historical society’s board heard an initial presentation of paranormal evidence last fall, but Drake said many of the recordings weren’t quite clear enough to discern exactly what was happening.

“Some of the spirits, or whatever they are, I’d like them to speak a little more clearly, more loudly and clearly,” Drake said, “something I could play to our members and say, ‘Here. This is going on.’ “

What a monumental waste of time. Drake didn’t hear anything because it’s all a big scam. Ghosts are as non-existent as God.

Fortunately, there’s a commenter with some good sense.

“There’s voices and stuff moving and unexplainable crap,” she said.” Such phenomena ARE explainable. Steatorrhea, for instance, is often the result of too many fries and too much fried dough with your KFC, especially if you or the kids suffer digestive problems or malabsorption syndromes. Porta-potties at state fairs are an excellent venue for investigating such paranormal occurrences.

What made me most happy about this was that it prevented me from needing to sign-in in order to leave a lengthy comment myself. But that happiness was quickly dashed when I read this:

Divinity (the first commenter), can you prove it’s NOT haunted or that spirits DON’T exist? I didn’t think so.

Oh dear. This old canard. Didn’t the Flying Spaghetti Monster answer this? Didn’t Sagan already do away with this bull? Hasn’t anyone taken a basic science class?

But no need to worry! That same user, Divinity, is to the rescue.

mdenis46 said… “Divinity, can you prove it’s NOT haunted or that spirits DON’T exist? I didn’t think so.” Remember that beautiful summer, Michael, when you had to spend the best days of it in class studying statistics while your mind was on the beach? While you were day-dreaming the instructor was explaining that you never prove the null hypothesis, i.e. similar to “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” Personally, I not only believe in spirits, I like to imbibe them when socializing with kindred ghouls and ghosties. I used to love my visits to Mount Desert following those C.E. tribulations; Caspar was always friendly and could drink like a fish.


A legal netherworld

Same-sex families suffer from the ridiculous patchwork of laws the U.S. has regulating marriage. Most states are allowed to forego the Full Faith and Credit Clause and pretend as though a couple legally married in, say, Iowa is really single. This presents massive problems in family affairs, when tax season comes around, and for basic human decency.

That’s been a problem for Cari Searcy and Kim McKeand of Mobile, Ala. They married in California in September 2008 during the brief period before same-sex marriages were banned there by a ballot measure, Proposition 8.

It was a whirlwind wedding trip, and the couple promptly returned to Alabama — a state unlikely to recognize same-sex unions without some sort of federal mandate that for now seems far away.

Even with a marriage license, Searcy has been unable to complete a second-parent adoption and is not recognized by Alabama as a legal parent of the couple’s son, Khaya, whom McKeand gave birth to in 2006. Yet despite that rebuff, there’s no talk of moving out.

“We’re from the South — this is our home,” Searcy said. “If everybody moves to states that recognize it, how are we going to change?”

Day to day in Mobile, there’s little practical benefit to being married, Searcy said, though she and McKeand enjoy referring to each other as “my wife.”

“One of the biggest things — now that Khaya is talking — he’s constantly going around telling people, ‘My mommies are married,’” Searcy said. “He’s really proud of that. Seeing that through his eyes, that’s pretty special.”

This is the most obvious blight on American history since segregation. Do read the entire article; it offers a lot of insight into the practical side of marriage, effectively rebuffing the claims of bigots that same-sex couples can just get around not being married through other legal arrangements.

Victory in Malawi

Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza of Malawi were sentenced to 14 years in prison for the ‘crime’ of being gay. After Malawian Christians showed what the consequences of legislated morality look like, worldwide pressure fell upon Malawi. This has resulted in President Bingu wa Mutharika publicly correcting the evil in his nation.

Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza were released late Saturday, hours after President Bingu wa Mutharika pardoned them without condition. But in giving his pardon, which he said was on “humanitarian grounds only,” Mutharika warned that homosexuality remains illegal in the conservative southern African country.

Of course, I can’t say I’m surprised he only corrected his error in judgement of good and evil for this specific couple. It’s tough for bigots to correct their fundamental problems, especially with sexual immaturity. But to be fair, Mutharika has said he pardoned the couple on humanitarian grounds, not because he approves of their acts. That’s still sexual immaturity, but it is tolerance. It’s superficial tolerance – we all know gays are still not safe from persecution in Malawi – but it’s at least a very, very slight step in the right direction.

The Gulf Coast

If the U.S. actually had a free market and if it actually followed the libertarian principles advocated by teabaggers*, then the government wouldn’t even be attempting to fix the Gulf of Mexico spill that is currently in the process of decimating marshland.

And that’s just one problem with ideology. Virtually no matter which one a person chooses, either consequences or intention will be largely ignored. Internet caricature feminism ignores intentions. Libertarianism says “Screw you!” to consequences; Egalitarianism does the same. Utilitarianism is the best at towing the line, but it still fails in many respects to what I think most people want in their ethics and morals. This consistency people seek so much tries to paint the world as black and white, and that just doesn’t work. The current crisis in the Gulf of Mexico would either be made worse or allowed to become far worse than it otherwise would if the U.S. applied an ideology to it.

*When I say teabaggers adhere to libertarian principles, I mean economic libertarian principles – and even then they aren’t that consistent (i.e., favoring publicly-funded roads). But I certainly do not mean social libertarian principles. They hate those.

Yeah, that’s probably empty

I mean, there are only billions and billions of these. I can see how it might be reasonable to presume each one is empty.

If you’re arrogant, that is.