Tag Archives: fox news

Christianity is a philosophy, not a religion.

4 Dec

Bill O’Reilly is an idiot. In other news, water is wet.

The other night Bill’O had atheist David Silverman on again to discuss Bill’s annual attention grab war on Christmas. The last time Silverman was on, Bill admitted that he, and probably most of his viewers, failed basic high school science and are unaware of the scientific explanation for tides. On this show, however, Bill said that Silverman was a facist for trying to keep the government to enforce its own laws, and that Christianity is not a religion. (A statement that he later recanted on after it was clear that nobody was going to march of the cliff with him.)

Yes, trying to get the government to remain religiously neutral is the same things as fascism.

Since Bill seems to be so confused, here is the definition of fascism:

Fascism (play /ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism. Fascists seek to unify their nation based upon suprapersonal connections of ancestry and culture through a totalitarian state that seeks the mass mobilization of the national community through disciplineindoctrination, and physical training.

Fox News has a lot more in common with actual fascism than any campaign to keep the government out of religion. The claim that what Silverman and his ilk are trying to do is fascism is just  mindbogglingly absurd. Unfortunately, every year we go through the same crap. Christians somewhere try to erect a Christian display on government grounds and then cry oppression when they’re told they can’t be plastering their crap all over government property.  I don’t understand why it’s so hard for them to understand that not being given special treatment does not equal oppression.

But on to Bill’s other blunder: Christianity is not a religion. Jon Stewart has a good little bit in response.

On his show, Bill’O goes on to say that while Christianity is not a religion, groups like the Methodists, Catholics, and  Baptists are. What Bill is describing are sects within a religion. A sect is a subset of a religion, a strain of the religion, yet still part of that religion.

Jesus-Facepalm

Unfortunately, Bill’s not the first to try and pull this “Christianity is not a religion” crock of shit. In the past I’ve heard people try and claim that Christianity is a relationship, not a religion. Quit trying to manipulate and muddy language in order to protect your position. The fact that you have to resort to attempting to obfuscate the meaning of words is a dead give away your position is shit to begin with. No, your religion is a religion. What you believe in is, by definition, a religion. Call it what you like, it is what it is. Don’t want to be part of a religion? Fine, then give up all the privileges that come with being a religion, starting with your tax exempt status.

Libertarians and conservatives…

24 Feb

Earlier today I got a nasty comment from someone bashing me and my blog without attempting to put forth and real ideas or counter arguments so I deleted it. What struck me afterwards was that the person called themselves a libertarian and in the post they were bashing me for I was decrying big government’s involvement in people’s personal lives. This really puzzled me because the supposed difference between libertarians and conservatives is that libertarians don’t want big government controlling what you do with your body, who you marry, and when you have children while conservatives will gleefully enforce their version of morality on the rest of the population through big government.

Politically I consider myself a liberal with libertarian leanings. As a general rule I do not like big government dictating what its citizens can do. I’m pro gun, pro choice, pro gay marriage, pro drugs, and against the death penalty. However, I do recognize that community is important and that there is a need for government to provide things that support the public good like schools, healthcare, a fire department, libraries, highways, food/water/building/car safety, etc. I recognize that the “free market” is not a perfect system for producing a happy, healthy society. The pure libertarian idea of a free market is too idealistic and makes various assumptions about the players in the market that are unrealistic. America was very libertarian at the turn of the 20th century and the problems we had with robber barons, monopolies, tycoons, tainted food, snake oil salesmen, etc led to the development of protective regulatory agencies.

I also recognize that big government is a tool for ensuring legal equality. Oppressed and disenfranchised minorities in a small community can appeal to bigger government for protection. A small town of racist white supremacists in the south cannot oppress and deny blacks the right to vote because such rights are on a bigger scale than the small southern town. Big government at a federal level incorporates so many diverse people from different parts of the country that it dilutes out discrimination that would be practiced on a smaller homogeneous scale.

So I guess you can call me libertarian lite.

What really puzzles me about the other libertarians I see is just how easily they associate with conservatives. Many of the libertarians I know you would not know they were libertarians and not conservative unless you asked them. They post very conservative posts up on facebook or their blogs, they like very conservative speakers and authors, and they watch Fox “news.”

Why do I never see them railing against anti-gay marriage laws, or abortion laws, the jailing of journalists, or bills like the Patriot Act that strip us of our personal liberties guaranteed in the Constitution? The only explaination I can think of is pretty sickening:

Money is more important than social equality.

If they were concerned with the social equality of all people they’d stay well away from conservatives. I’d see them hanging out with liberals but grumbling when economics came up. Instead they’re hanging out with conservatives and staying silent when social issues come up.

Prayer saved Gabriel Gifford…according to Fox Viewers

21 Jan

A new poll conducted by Fox “news” found that 8 in 10 Americans (aka conservatives who take Fox Polls) believe that god saved Gabriel Gifford’s life. Meanwhile another poll conducted by Reality News found that 8 in 10 people who responded to the Fox “news” poll are morons.

We can all let out a collective groan because here we go again. Just as with the Chilean mine collapse, or the plane crash on the Hudson river, people always find a way to praise their invisibly sky daddy and never blame him. That is just how the game is rigged. There is no possible scenario where they will blame god. Period.

Did gay intern Daniel Hernandez, who held his hands tight on Gifford’s head to control the bleeding and to keep her brains from oozing out, save Gifford’s life? What about the person who jumped the gunman to keep him from shooting more people? What about the emergency responders who rushed to the scene? What about the expert surgeons who spent years studying the advances of science and who spent hours fighting to keep Gifford alive?

Nope. God did it…. but do you know what that means if you want to be logically consistent? It means god had a nine year old girl gunned down… And if you’re not going to admit that then you have to admit you don’t give a fuck about reality, logical coherence, or will ever admit your god did something disgusting.

Build the Muslim community center!

25 Aug

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ve heard about the planned Muslim community center that is going to be built 2 blocks away from ground zero. Fox news has dubbed this the “9/11 Mosque” or the “Terror Mosque”. Fox viewers, known for being easily scared, quick to anger, and slow to do their homework, did not disappoint. Thousands have shown up to protest outside of where the community center is to be built.

Fox news has repeatedly alluded to this evil person funding the mosque, how the organizations he supports fund terror, and how he builds extremist Islamic madrassas. The thing is, Fox never directly named the person they were attacking. They preferred to keep it shadowy, knowing their audience wouldn’t bother to fact check them and see who this person was. The person funding the community center is Prince Alwaleed, a Saudi. Here he is in the left of this picture:

Here’s the sweet sweet irony. Do you know who that is in the right of the picture? That’s Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News. Why is this Alwaleed (who is an evil Muslim terrorist according to Fox “news” anchors) shaking hands with Murdoch? Because he is the #2 largest share holder of News Corp and Fox!!! He owns Fox! That’s right! The evil shadowy guy the Fox reporters are demonizing is actually their boss!  Either they’re trying to hide that fact and still get people angry and worked up (in which case they’re incredibly evil and manipulative) or they honestly don’t know that the guy they’re bashing owns their company (in which case they are mind numbingly stupid).

The fact that angry Fox viewers, by watching and supporting Fox, are by extension helping Alwaleed and his community center, aside; this is really a constitutional rights issue. The 1st Amendment guarantees that the government can’t prohibit the free exercise of religion. Building a religious building on private landed, funded with private money is fair game and the right of these Muslim Americans. Ron Paul, of all people, came out to defend this point:

It just baffles me how people can go on and on about how they’re defending the constitution and our rights, and then the moment an unpopular group tries to use those rights, they go ape shit. News flash: The Bill of Rights protects everybody, not just the popular people/views. Not sure if you got the memo. Now as an atheist, I’m no fan of Islam. I’m no fan of Christianity either, but as a hated religious minority I can sympathize with the Muslims on this one. Newt Gingrich came out and said we shouldn’t let any mosques be built in the US until Saudi Arabia lets churches be built. Seriously Newt? You want us to lower ourselves to the same standard of Saudi Arabia? The fact that we do allow unpopular views to exist freely here is what makes us better than that desert hell-hole! I think a lot of the people protesting this mosque don’t understand that basic fact. We are better because we are tolerant, not in-spite of it.

I’m willing to bet you that some of those people protesting now also believe the terrorists hate us for our freedoms, that the terrorists want to take away those freedoms. If that’s true, let me ask you this: If you then try to take those exact same freedoms away from other Americans, how are you different from those terrorists that tried to them from you? How do the terrorists not win if we start taking freedoms from other Americans just because we don’t like them? How does that make us any different from the bad guys? No, this community center should go up as a giant “fuck you!” to the terrorists that would love nothing more than to see us turn on each other and start tearing down the constitution.

Facts don’t matter?

13 Jul

Ideally in a debate there are two sides, one makes a claim, the other tries to refute that claim. Both sides try to avoid logical fallacies and use objective, nonpartisan facts to determine in a claim is valid or not. If the evidence does not support the claim, then the side that made the claim admits they were wrong and everybody moves on. It would be wonderful if the world followed that model, but one look around the modern political/religious landscape will show you that this is not the case. No, today facts are growing increasingly more irrelevant to a debate. As much as we all like to think of ourselves as rational, intelligent adults, open to changing our views in light of evidence, research suggests that we are actually likely to become more strident about our beliefs when presented with contradicting facts.

Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler, two of the political scientists conducting the research, call this the “backfire effect”, when a person strengthens their belief in a false claim when presented with facts that challenge their beliefs. It’s unfortunate, but it makes sense. Nyhan points out that this is a defense mechanism people employ to avoid cognitive dissonance. There was a great conversation that aired today on NPR’s Talk of the Nation which had Brendan Nyhan as a guest. Check it out.

My question is this: If presenting a misinformed person with facts only strengthens their misinformed beliefs, then how can there be any discussion? How can you change their minds? Is there just no talking to them? If a person is going to believe what they want to believe, no matter how strongly the evidence might contradict them, then does it just boil down to who can get the most people to the polls on election day? How can we have a stable society if reality is no longer an issue in our decision making? I am reminded of the story of King Canute. He placed his throne on the beach and commanded the tide not to come in. Despite his royal edict it did, just as it always does. Moral of the story: reality doesn’t give a damn what people say.

Liberty & Freedom are worthless

24 Apr

Liberty and Freedom are worthless words. The ideas those words used to represent are still invaluable, but we no longer have words to represent those concepts.

In George Orwell’s 1984 there is the important concept of “double speak“. Double speak is the deliberate distortion of language in the hopes of making meaningful discussion impossible. Controlling language, just like controlling history, is an extremely powerful weapon. If you can debase and alter the very language of a debate, you can frame it any way you want. Your opponents will become victims of their own language.

We see this happening in America today. In the past, conservatives successfully altered the connotation  of the word liberal. They turned it into something dirty, a crime, a perversion. What did liberals do? They cowered and switched to progressive. Now the right is hammering away at progressive as hard as they did liberal to try and make that a dirty word too.

Liberty & Freedom have fallen victim to the same war. What do those words mean? I don’t know what they mean now. I see them constantly being used by people who would, if elected, severely restrict who could marry who, what women could do with their bodies, where women and blacks could work and go to school, who could serve in the military, what religion the government would favor, who could enter this country in search of a better life. The people using the words Liberty & Freedom would make a lot of decisions controlling the actions and choices of other people. Is that what Liberty & Freedom mean?

There was a time when those words, like liberal and progressive meant something different. There was a time when Liberty & Freedom meant the lack of control. Liberty and Freedom were words feared by people who sought to coerce and control others. People uttering those words were to be quickly and mercilessly put down by the authorities.

Now those who would take away people’s ability to do what they please use these words to describe their cause. Liberty & Freedom are now worthless words.

Proof Tea Party not in touch with reality

17 Apr

Ok, just the other day was tax day. Obama and those damn liberals raised your taxes again didn’t they! Golly gee willikers! Turn off Fox “news” for two seconds and take a moment to actually look at the check you’re signing to the IRS. I’ll give you a moment to recover from your shock.

Ok, breathing again? Yep. You got a tax CUT!  That’s right. The damn “tax and spend” liberals CUT your taxes. Yet despite this, most Americans have no idea this happened. I blame 2 things. Poor PR on the part of the liberals, and the boundless stupidity of the American people. Apparently many believe that by hoping and prayin and wishin and willin hard enough you can actually change the fabric of reality.

It’s really scary that now-a-days people are more willing to believe whatever bullshit Fox shovels them instead of actually looking at the check they’re signing.