Friday, September 30, 2011

Wherein I cite a different problem.

Not that long ago, I brought you a ridiculing look at WorldNet Daily's hilarious review of the film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  That review of the review can be seen again by following the blog link here -- Worldnuttery on Film Once Again.  Well, at the time, though, I had not actually seen the film.  Obviously, the first time I ridiculed one of WND's reviews, I had seen the film -- obviously, I would have considering that I worked on it and have my name in the credits.  This time around, I only got around to seeing the film much later...  and of course, for free (one of the perks of working in movies is that people actually share their stuff for review ...  It's SOCIALISM!!!)

Well, they had a rather laughable complaint based on the absence of a "Monkey Fall" and a "Monkey Moses" leading the "Monkey Jews" out of Egypt followed by a "Monkey Jesus" being crucified to absolve all "Monkey sins."  Okay, not quite, but pretty close.  Well, I had no problem with any of that...  or the lack thereof, to be precise.  The idea of a mother chimp being protective of her young is hardly a shock, nor is it in any way a misrepresentation of how actual apes would behave.

No, you're talking to the Grumpy Anti-theist here.  Overall, I rather liked the film, and I liked how it tied into the original series.  The space travel aspect of the film looked on the surface like a meaningless detail, but it actually serves to explain how the first film even happened, making this a nice prequel that wraps things up with a bow.  Tack on little niceties, like a reprisal of the "damn dirty ape" line from the original Charlton Heston flick, and you get something quite entertaining.  My only issue with the film is the way science is represented.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Are you against happiness?

Seriously?  I mean...  the "angry at god" thing wasn't enough?  I get questions that suggest I want people to be miserable?  I wonder if people just lash out because I'm proverbially pulling the beard off of the guy in the Santa suit or they simply don't get the point of being a rationalist.  It's not about happy vs. sad; It's not about hope vs. despair; It's not about moral vs. immoral; It's most certainly not about religion A vs. religion B; It's about fact vs. fantasy.  That's it.  There is nothing more to it than that.  I don't speak ill of religions because they do not occasionally teach otherwise valuable lessons;  I speak ill of them because they are fundamentally untrue, and believing that they are true is a bad thing that leads to other bad things.

I don't care how much your religious beliefs comfort you.  I don't care how big a difference Jesus or Sai Baba or Zarathustra or whoever has made in your life.  I don't care how happy you are to belong to some community of deluded psychopaths.  I don't care what sort of hope it brings you to believe in some divine form of justice.  And I certainly don't care about the sincerity with which you hold those beliefs.  None of these are important when establishing that any of these things are in any way true.

I refer to a quote by Penn Jilette on the matter --
"Believing something sincerely, without finding out if it is true, is actually a little worse than lying. It shits on the very idea of truth. To lie, you have to understand how to find out the truth, and then choose to fake it. To be sincere, you don't have to know anything. You just say whatever makes you feel good, and spin in smug circles in your tiny, fucked up little head... happy as long as you're true to yourself. In other words, sincerity is bullshit."
Well, I use that quote specifically to point out the irrelevance of any depth of belief.  I am a rationalist for a simple reason -- It is inherently better to be consistent with reality than not.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Impossibility of the Golden Rule

Almost every religion, every belief system, every moral code has some version of the Golden Rule.  The most well-known phrasing of it, at least in the English language is in the form of the phrase, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  I don't think you can find anybody, short of an outright sociopath, who would consider this a bad lesson.  Any decent human being would be all too glad to say that believe in such a moral precept; and as moral principles go, it's actually a pretty simple and elementary rule that seems as if it should apply anywhere, any time.  Also, most any honest person would accept that they probably don't apply it as well as they should, even though they also simultaneously believe that they apply it more effectively than they actually do.

The strange, and also sad, aspect of this is that people should not really be considered all that unusual for failing to apply the Golden Rule.  Surely, the majority of people wish they could apply it, but they really don't apply it all too universally.  It is not simply that it is difficult, but it is actually absolutely impossible...  at least for human beings.

Monday, September 12, 2011

If Only I had a Nuclear Arsenal...

...  I'd nuke every last ultra-conservative district.

After seeing the sorts of things that people had to say in the recent Republican debate, it is pretty well clear that if this is what conservatives really want out of the leader of the nation, then there is no place for them on this Earth.

Mitt Romney was leading the party for quite some time, and while I have my problems with him and his magic underpants, he is, in an odd way, more centrist than the liberal-by-affiliation-only Barack Obama.  Romney is willing to be anything and take on any sort of role in order to gain and hold onto the presidency.  If the populace swings conservative, he'll play conservative...  if he needs to be liberal, he'll be liberal.  If he's in a crowd which wants gay marriage, he's in support of it.  Another day, he'll be in a crowd which is anti-abortion, and he'll talk endlessly about the sacredness of any "potential life"...  while also remembering for another day that he's technically murdering thousands of "potential lives" every time he scratches his nose.  Well, simply put, he's the epitome of the phony politician.