Green Eggs and Spam

I have no idea how you, my dear fellow bloggers deal with your “comments” that akismet relegates to the spam folder. For years, I never read them, just clicked on the purge button and awaaaaay they went. I don’t have enough traffic to get what some blogs might get, it’s sporadic at best, much like my posting. HOWEVER there’s been a recent phenomenon that’s caught my eye. There’s something about “Republican Jesus News” that has caught the spammers fancy. They respond almost exclusively to those posts. I have no idea why. Perhaps they’re all Republican Jesus fanboi, I don’t know.
It’s running about 70%.

Here’s a sample from someone named Wspaniałystreszczenie zbiorników betonowych.

Greetings! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering which blog
platform are you using for this website?

I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had problems with
hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform.
I would be great if you could point me in the direction of a good
platform.

No, I’m very sorry Wspaniałystreszczenie, to disappoint, but I have no idea what a good platform would be. Otherwise I’d be using it. Somewhere other than WordPress.

Any amusing spam stories to share?

Posted in Post weakly, humor | Tagged , | 4 Comments

William Lane Craig Gives Me A Headache. His Adherents Are Even Worse.

Most of the junior apologists [or punters as I like to call them,] I’ve talked to on social media who are evolution deniers hew to Doctor Craig’s every breath and thought.

“Doctor, doctor give me the news
I’ve got a bad case of lovin’ you
No pill’s gonna cure my ill
I’ve got a bad case of lovin’ you…

Very few of them bother to delve into what he really thinks and believes beyond the lucrative speaking circuit, because if they did, they’d discover some embarrassing contradictions. And if they thought about the logical consequences of his views, they’d be less likely to promote them publicly.

From his website “Reasonable Faith”

Transcript from podcast: Creation Out of Nothing

Kevin Harris: Dr. Craig, Christianity teaches creation ex nihilo. What does that mean?

Dr. Craig: Creation out of nothing. It means that God didn’t use any material stuff in creating the world but that he created the stuff itself.

Kevin Harris: Much like the scientist who went before God and said, “God, we can do anything that you can.” And God said, “Show me.” “Well, we can make a life.” God said, “Show me.” “Well, first we get a bunch of dirt.” And God said, “Wait a minute. Get your own dirt!” It really is that kind of a thing. So there was no material for God to use to create. He created the material itself?

Dr. Craig: Yes, that is exactly right. That is the doctrine.

Got that? God created something from nothing. Incidentally, over 50% of white Evangelical religionists in the US are taught this doctrine in their churches and claim it to be the truth.

According to PEW Research:

On the other hand….Craig holds to the principle ex nihilo nihil fit, “out of nothing, nothing comes,” saying that this “is as certain as anything in philosophy and that no rational person sincerely doubts it.” Furthermore, he has also claimed that “it is impossible that nothing exists.” Citing Leibniz’s view of God as a “logically necessary being,” Craig goes on to say that “there is no possible world in which nothing exists.”

Hmmm. I’m beginning to see an un-explainable paradox here. OR both those positions can’t be true. Also, any claim that god exists immaterially free of the laws of matter, time, and space are logically inconsistent because god would then be indistinguishable from nothing which he claims can’t exist.

I guess that’s why they say “god works in mysterious ways.” Craig is equally weak in explaining the contradictory ideas that “everything that exists has a cause” and “nothing caused god to exist.” Instead we get Gish gabble.

Now, if christians would like, we can have a discussion about cause in relation to the beginning of the universe once we’ve moved god from the numinous into a definable reality that has properties that can be described and tested.

Posted in atheism, Post weakly | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Are you an Atheist for the Wrong Reasons?

I stumbled across an article in a Christian publication called “How Peter Singer and Oxford turned me off Atheism” by Sarah Irving-Stonebreaker. Once I got past the usual boilerplate rhetoric of how absolutely “atheisty” she was, “top of her game, future Horseman of the secular apocalypse” burnishing of her educational credentials [which is meant to be somehow more convincing to non believers that her conversion is significant in light of them] she gets to the emotional reason for her change of heart.

From the article:

After Cambridge, I was elected to a Junior Research Fellowship at Oxford. There, I attended three guest lectures by world-class philosopher and atheist public intellectual, Peter Singer. Singer recognised that philosophy faces a vexing problem in relation to the issue of human worth. The natural world yields no egalitarian picture of human capacities. What about the child whose disabilities or illness compromises her abilities to reason? Yet, without reference to some set of capacities as the basis of human worth, the intrinsic value of all human beings becomes an ungrounded assertion;

Determinism can be a hard pill to swallow for some folks. Naturalism is the antithesis of the idea of group and individual value and it’s why the notion of afterlife and being redeemed by an unconditionally loving deity is so popular among religionists.

She goes on to say:

I remember leaving Singer’s lectures with a strange intellectual vertigo; I was committed to believing that universal human value was more than just a well-meaning conceit of liberalism. But I knew from my own research in the history of European empires and their encounters with indigenous cultures, that societies have always had different conceptions of human worth, or lack thereof. The premise of human equality is not a self-evident truth: it is profoundly historically contingent. I began to realize that the implications of my atheism were incompatible with almost every value I held dear.

And there you have it. Faced with the choice of believing in a god given universal human value or dealing with the logical consequence of a world with no god in it, she chose the comfort of faith. Not because there was evidence for a god, but because it felt better emotionally.

She acknowledges this in her further rationale:

Moreover, God wants broken people, not self-righteous ones.

This makes me sad. People aren’t intrinsically broken. That’s one of the most pernicious lies perpetrated by Christianity. And it makes me angry to think people would accept that the only way they would feel like they have value would be if an imaginary entity provided it.

In conclusion, the secondary banner under the heading reads:

An historian is confronted by evidence for the radical extremes of God

I read the article several times. Nowhere in there did I find any “evidence” of god. I did find a lot of rationalization for succumbing to fantasy. None of it was convincing to me. But it did explain why people who make atheism an ideology rather than a decision about believing in a god based on lack of evidence have miracle conversions to lives steeped in belief.

Posted in atheism, Post weakly | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Did You Know Satan Sleeps in your Nose at Night?

I was like, whoah, that explains a lot of stuff like bed head, irritability, bad breath, and the general malaise I feel on waking up in the morning.

Little Timmy Minchin is seen here struggling with a waxy Satanic buildup in his nose.

Or someone else amIright? That a perfect explanation for what goes on is his head.

No. I’m not making this up. I knew there were Hadiths for sexy time with your goat, but the devil sleeping in my nose and urinating in my ear was a new one.

Evidently Muslims take this quite seriously because the discussion about it on the You Tube got quite heated.

Enjoy:

Lord Buckethead!

Posted in atheism, humor, Post weakly | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

The Long Agonizing Slide Into Complete Corruption: The James Comey Edition

It’s obvious from the way Trump acts that he thinks he’s been made by electoral fiat into an emperor rather than a servant of the American people. It’s also obvious he has no regard for the rule of law unless it is completely dedicated to imposing the goals of his authoritarianism. This week has been a memorial to Trumps ongoing incompetence culminating [we hope] in the public testimony of former FBI Director, James Comey on Thursday. Comey’s prepared testimony has been released and it is a page turner.

A few excerpts:

Concerning the Steele Dossier:

“The IC leadership thought it important, for a variety of reasons, to alert the incoming President to the existence of this material, even though it was salacious and unverified. Among those reasons were: (1) we knew the media was about to publicly report the material and we believed the IC should not keep knowledge of the material and its imminent release from the President-Elect; and (2) to the extent there was some effort to compromise an incoming President, we could blunt
any such effort with a defensive briefing.

The Director of National Intelligence asked that I personally do this portion of the briefing because I was staying in my position and because the material implicated the FBI’s counter-intelligence responsibilities. We also agreed I would do it alone to minimize potential embarrassment to the President-Elect. Although we agreed it made sense for me to do the briefing, the FBI’s leadership and I were concerned that the briefing might create a situation where a new President came into office uncertain about whether the FBI was conducting a counter-intelligence investigation of his personal conduct… “

So the Intelligence Community [IC] was doing Trump a solid. They could have let the story spin up in all the sound and fury Hillary’s oppo research team could muster, but they did what they felt was the right thing for an incoming President. Their role then seemed to take a curious turn on January 27.

The President and I had dinner on Friday, January 27 at 6:30 pm in the Green Room at the White House. He had called me at lunchtime that day and invited me to dinner that night, saying he was going to invite my whole family, but decided to have just me this time, with the whole family coming the next time. It was unclear from the conversation who else would be at the dinner, although I assumed there would be others.

It turned out to be just the two of us, seated at a small oval table in the center of the Green Room. Two Navy stewards waited on us, only entering the room to serve food and drinks. The President began by asking me whether I wanted to stay on as FBI Director, which I found strange because he had already told me twice in earlier conversations that he hoped I would stay, and I had assured him that I intended to. He said that lots of people wanted my job and, given the abuse I had taken during the previous year, he would understand if I wanted to walk away.

My instincts told me that the one-on-one setting, and the pretense that this was our first discussion about my position, meant the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship. That concerned me greatly, given the FBI’s traditionally independent status in the executive branch. I replied that I loved my work and intended to stay and serve out my ten-
year term as Director. And then, because the set-up made me uneasy, I added that I was not “reliable” in the way politicians use that word, but he could always count on me to tell him the truth. I added that I was not on anybody’s side politically and could not be counted on in the traditional political sense, a stance I said was in his best interest as the President.

A few moments later, the President said, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.”

I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on, but he returned to the subject near the end of our dinner. At one point, I explained why it was so important that the FBI and the Department of Justice be independent of the White House. I said it was a paradox: Throughout history, some Presidents have decided that because “problems” come from Justice, they should try to hold the Department close. But blurring those boundaries ultimately makes the problems worse by undermining public trust in the institutions and their work.

Near the end of our dinner, the President returned to the subject of my job, saying he was very glad I wanted to stay, adding that he had heard great things about me from Jim Mattis, Jeff Sessions, and many others.

He then said, “I need loyalty.”

I replied, “You will always get honesty from me.” He paused and then said, “That’s what I want, honest loyalty.” I paused, and then said, “You will get that from me.”

As I wrote in the memo I created immediately after the dinner, it is possible we understood the phrase “honest loyalty” differently, but I decided it wouldn’t be productive to push it further. The term – honest loyalty – had helped end a very awkward conversation and my explanations had made clear what he should expect. During the dinner, the President returned to the salacious material I had briefed him about on January 6, and, as he had done previously, expressed his disgust for the allegations and strongly denied them. He said he was considering ordering me to investigate the alleged incident to prove it didn’t happen.

I replied that he should give that careful thought because it might create a narrative that we were investigating him personally, which we weren’t, and because it was very difficult to prove a negative. He said he would think about it and asked me to think about it.

As was my practice for conversations with President Trump, I wrote a detailed memo about the dinner immediately afterwards and shared it with the senior leadership team of the FBI.

So, there are two instances where Comey protected the President from his own incompetence. The first, the “defensive briefing” about the “golden shower” tapes, and second the suggestion that any further investigation might lead to a corroboration of the entire contents of the Steele Dossier, leading to results the President might not appreciate in the final analysis. His reward? Being fired. This is what anyone can expect from dealing with Donald Trump. He’s an amoral malignant narcissist with delusions of grandeur. I expect that sort of behavior from him. I expect more from the people around him who are responsible to the Public Trust. We can see a clear pattern of enabling Trump’s lawlessness in the close circle of appointees in power at the White House. They ameliorate his lies, abet his toxic and racist policies and look the other way while he and his family loot the taxpayers money.

James Comey should be fired for failing to make it abundantly clear his independent role in the government in upholding the law. He was tainted and untrustworthy from the first briefing. The corruption has seeped so far into US politics, there are no longer any checks and balances or accountability to the people.

Frankly, I’m at a loss to know what the way back is and it makes me sad that I’ve seen this great country come to this sorry state of affairs in my lifetime.

Ugh.

edit: The full Comey statement can be found here.

Posted in politics, Post weakly | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments