So You Know Exactly How God Did It, Then?

You know, sometimes it seems like USA has come to stand for “United States of Appalling Ignorance.”  A lot of people in this country need to read an improving book.  And I’m not talking about the Bible.  That one only seems to improve people’s ability to be smug about their appalling ignorance.


MTHellfire found this bit of outstanding fuckwittery spouted by Bill O’Reilly and took him to the woodshed over it (h/t):

“Tide goes in and tide goes out…you can’t explain that.” Bill O’Reilly recently told Dave Silverman of American Atheists, during a recent airing on Fox News as they debated the integrity of religion.

After her head hit her desk, she went on to advise that, yes, actually, Billo, we can explain how the tide goes in and out.  I’d just like to add that Billo needs to avail himself of a book I recently read, Beyond the Moon.  We are so able to explain tides that entire pop sci books can be written on the subject.

MTHellfire went on to quote, in its full misspelled glory, a screed she’d been subjected to on Facebook, wherein the correspondent (and I use this term loosely) advised that the reason people don’t trust scientists is that they can’t explain where the first speck of dirt came from, but they can tell you how life was created.

Wrong wrong wrong, and not just because the original had enough grammatical errors to make an English teacher contemplate a home lobotomy in an effort to escape the pain.  Scientists can explain how life evolved.  They’re not yet sure how it originated, but they’ve got some promising ideas.  They’re pretty certain it did not include a large bearded deity poofing the whole thing into existence.

As far as the speck of dirt goes, any decent book on cosmology can clue you in.  Dirt is formed of elements.  Elements are forged in stars.  And so on, all the way back to the Big Bang.  So yes, Facebook babbler, scientists can explain where the first speck of dirt came from.  At length, and with equations, if you like.

But it’s not like the “God did it” crowd is likely to listen to the evidence.  If they do, their eyes will all too likely glaze over, and they will take this as a sign: they cannot understand it, therefore scientists don’t really understand it, ergo Jesus!  So let me just turn this around a bit.  I like turning tables.  It adds interest to a room.

Here’s my reply to the “Scientists can’t explain every single detail exactly, so God, so there!” crowd:

Do you know every last detail of how, precisely, God created the universe?  I mean, precisely how he spoke the whole thing into existence?  The complete and excruciating details of how, exactly, God did it, from the first photon to the last squidgy bit on Eve?

No?

Deary me.  Guess I’ll have to just stick with science, then.

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I Smell Abject Ignorance

I was going to do up a little post on the United Methodist Church’s ridiculous little “Rethink Church” campaign, but that merely reeks of desperation, and while it warms my heart to see churches begging, bribing and beseeching people to attend, it’s just not funny enough to poke fun at.  Besides, the Methodists aren’t as odious as some.  I’d like to see low attendance force, say, the leaders of the Southern Baptists or the Catholic Church to start desperate little ad campaigns trying to prove they’re hip, with it, and have an actual conscience.

So no, that wasn’t spit-take worthy idiocy.  This, on the other hand, is:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Moment of Zen – Iceland Is Too Cold for Volcanoes
www.thedailyshow.com
http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:271695
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

That’s a remarkable amount of ignorance to pack into 15 seconds, and it takes a truly shameless ignoramus to proudly spew it all over a television audience not made up solely of Faux News viewers.

Rick, allow me to attempt a bit of education.  Not sure I have the strength to pound it into a skull this thick, but I shall try.

One, volcanoes are places where molten fucking rock from the earth’s interior comes to the surface.  You see, the interior of the earth is very, very hot.  Observe:

And where do volcanoes come from?  Why, the inside of the earth, where it’s thousands of degrees Fahrenheit!

Wow, that’s hot!

Volcanoes erupt something called magma, which is, in fact, molten fucking rock.  It is about 1,300 to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Shall we compare it to a summer’s day?  At the lower end of the scale, it’s at least 1,200 degrees hotter.  And the melting temperature of ice is (drumroll please) 33 degrees Fahrenheit.  Ergo, volcanoes can melt ice. 

Additionally, the lowest temperature ever recorded on Iceland was -39 degrees Fahrenheit.  Ergo, volcanoes can melt Iceland.  For a demonstration of principles, Rick, why don’t you take a blowtorch to an ice cube.  On second thought, have someone else take a blowtorch to an ice cube.  I don’t think you should be personally handling anything more dangerous than a safety pin.

But my second point, and the most important one, is this: Iceland is famous for being the only place on earth where you can see the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at the surface, you stupid shit.  You know, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where all the fucking volcanic activity happens?  And the reason we can see the fucking Mid-Atlantic Ridge splitting an island apart is because Iceland’s also on a hot spot, just like Hawaii.  The island was built by volcanoes, is still in the process of being built by volcanoes, and is fucking known for volcanoes, you dumbfuck.  Iceland’s among the first to have harnessed volcanoes for geothermal energy production.  Haven’t you ever seen images like these?

And what, did you sleep through Surtsey?

Look, I know ignorance is supposed to be bliss, and if that’s the case you must be fucking ecstatic, but please, indulge in the privacy of your own home, all right? 

Dick Babbles, Politico Plays Stenographer, and Ackerman Attacks

So, Dick Cheney babbled to a couple of Politico “reporters,” who dutifully wrote down his dictation, encased it in an article, and published it without a single attempt at actual journalism.

Spencer Ackerman said all that needs to be said:

Cheney was asked if he thinks the Bush administration bears any responsibility for the disintegration of Afghanistan because of the attention and resources that were diverted to Iraq. “I basically don’t,” he replied without elaborating.

Right, and why follow that one up? It’s not like a high-profile Senate report demonstrated over the weekend that the Bush administration allowed Osama bin Laden to escape the battle of Tora Bora in December 2001, a crucial mistake that allowed al-Qaeda to regroup in Pakistan.

There’s more.  Lots more.  With links.  Many links.  And no mercy at all.

Spencer.  I love you, man.

Greg Sargent takes on Cheney’s further blabbering about Obama’s bow.  And he reports that Cons aren’t at all pleased with Dick’s media popularity:

They won’t dare say this publicly. But Republicans in key messaging roles are privately voicing serious frustration with Dick Cheney’s ability to win media attention for his national security attacks on President Obama, claiming the attention is making it easier for the White House and Dems to mock GOP views as “cartoonish” and the stuff of “caricature.”

Damn skippy.  But you know what, fellas?  Truth sure as shit hurts.

I wonder if Cheney’s one fan is now having second thoughts.

But Really, They’re Not Racists: The I’ve Lost Count Edition

Well, it might be xenophobia combined with racism in this case, but it’s despicable either way:

On Sunday, U.S. media outlets reported that for the first time in 27 years, an American had won the New York City Marathon. Meb Keflezighi was born in Eritrea, “growing up in a hut with no electricity.” He and his family moved to Italy when he was 10 years old, and came to the United States two years later. Keflezighi “began running in junior high in San Diego, then went on to star at UCLA.” He said he it was with “big honor and pride” that he wore the USA jersey while running in the marathon.
[snip]
However, CNBC Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell doesn’t think Keflezighi deserves all this praise because when his mother gave birth to him, she wasn’t in the U.S. Rovell wrote a column yesterday saying that Keflezighi’s victory wasn’t “as good as it sounds” because Keflezighi is an immigrant, and this fact “takes away from the magnitude of the achievement the headline implies”:

Given our disappointing results, embracing Keflezighi is understandable. But Keflezighi’s country of origin is Eritrea, a small country in Africa. He is an American citizen thanks to taking a test and living in our country.

Nothing against Keflezighi, but he’s like a ringer who you hire to work a couple hours at your office so that you can win the executive softball league.

Around noon today, Rovell posted a “convoluted sort-of apology” clarifying yesterday’s piece, writing, “Let me be clear: Meb Keflezighi is an American and any suggestion otherwise is wrong.” He now granted Keflezighi’s win legitimacy only because the runner was “brought up through the American system”:

I said that Keflezighi’s win, the first by an American since 1982, wasn’t as big as it was being made out to be because there was a difference between being an American-born product and being an American citizen. Frankly I didn’t account for the fact that virtually all of Keflezighi’s running experience came as a US citizen. I never said he didn’t deserve to be called American. […]

It turns out, Keflezighi moved to the United States in time to develop at every level in America. So Meb is in fact an American trained athlete and an American citizen and he should be celebrated as the American winner of the NYC Marathon. That makes a difference and makes him different from the “ringer” I accused him of being. Meb didn’t deserve that comparison and I apologize for that.

How long does someone have to be in the U.S. and go through the American “system” to be counted as legitimate?

Long enough that fucktard xenophobic racist assclowns count you as legitimate after they get their asses beaten for their dumbfuckery, it would appear.

The cantina believes that if you’re an American citizen for five minutes or five hundred years, you’re an American, and free drinks are available for any American who manages to end a long dry spell.  USA!  USA!

As for the aforementioned assclown, your prize is in the back.  When you’re done scrubbing the bathrooms, there’s some rather disgusting drains that require your attention.

You can bring Bruce “Brown People” Ash with you.

Our George Takes Maher to the Woodshed

Nice technique with the Smack-o-Matic, there, my dear!

OK Bill Maher, it’s nice you won a prestigious award for your movie, but stop calling yourself a rationalist.  Your stance seems to be not that we don’t know anything about God, but that we don’t know anything, period.  The fact is, we do know some things.  We know exactly how safe vaccines are (which is to say; not perfectly, but a hell of a lot safer than the thing vaccinated against), for example.  You can’t use science to speak against religion, and then ignore the science that supports vaccination.
Far be it from me to hope any individual gets swine flu, but Bill Maher is rich enough that he can keep himself far away from dense crowds if he wants to.  Not so the school children and people on the street and factories and offices who can wind up terribly sick and maybe even dying from H1N1.  And that’s the problem with anti-vaccination talk: it literally ends up with people dying from preventable diseases.  If Maher has scientific evidence that vaccines are dangerous and ineffective, he should present it.  Otherwise, he should admit he is wrong about it and get the vaccine on live TV to try and undo some of the damage he’s done.
Not only to public health, but to the public reputation of rationalism as well.

Pour that man a drink.  He’s earned it.

Piss-Poor Judgement

Who here thinks it’s a good idea for a racist fucktard to own a football team?  Definitely not the players:

I woke up this morning and turned on ESPN’s First and Ten to listen to as I made my coffee. The first thing I heard was that several football players came out slamming Rush Limbaugh over his bid to buy the St.Louis Rams after all his years of racial politics. I hope more black players rally around these two players and throw up a road block to this group that wants to buy the team.

Mathias Kiwanuka loves his former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, but the Giants‘ defensive end says he will never play for Spagnuolo’s Rams if Rush Limbaugh purchases the team.

Kiwanuka and the JetsBart Scott made it clear Thursday that they would never play for the Rams or any team owned by the controversial conservative radio host.

“All I know is from the last comment I heard, he said in (President) Obama‘s America, white kids are getting beat up on the bus while black kids are chanting ‘right on,'” Kiwanuka told The Daily News. “I mean, I don’t want anything to do with a team that he has any part of. He can do whatever he wants, it is a free country. But if it goes through, I can tell you where I am not going to play.”

Good on them.

So, it looks like even if Rush gets to buy hisself a football team, he won’t have many players on the team.  What’s a racist to do?  Why, take his he-man woman-hating skillz to the Miss America Pageant!

Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren reported on her blog last night that the Miss America Organization (MAO) announced that hate radio host Rush Limbaugh will be named as one of the seven judges for the 2010 Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas…
[snip]
It’s odd that Limbaugh will take part in choosing someone who will ultimately help the MAO “Go Green,” considering that he is a staunch anti-environmentalist. But the MAO’s choice is most shocking because of his fairly solid history of making sexist remarks. He has once said that women love Hillary Clinton because they’ve “had two or three abortions,” that women “live longer than men because their lives are easier,” and that all women want is to be hired as “eye candy.” Limbaugh also regularly rails against feminism, the “feminization of this culture,” “feminazis,” and the “chickification” of America. Unsurprisingly, women don’t like Rush Limbaugh. One wonders what MAO President Art McCaster is so “thrilled” about.

I don’t even want to speculate…

Beck Gets Dose of Own Medicine, Runs Crying to International Court

ZOMG, this is quite possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve seen all year.  It’s perfect in every particular: the assclown, the pwning of the assclown, the hypocrisy of the assclown, and an attorney with a cutting wit turning said assclown’s own hypocrisy against him.  The whole situation’s made of win.  It’s perfect.  Thank you, Ed Brayton, for finding this.

Parte the first:

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the Did Glenn Beck Rape and Murder a Young Girl in 1990 website, but it’s fairly amusing. It’s a political satire of the style of argument Glenn Beck likes to engage in, which involves requiring that someone prove a negative (“prove you didn’t do X”) and making claims in the form of an interrogative (“Hey, I’m just asking questions here. I’m not saying he did this. What’s wrong with asking questions?”).
Well now Beck is trying to kill the site by making a formal complaint (PDF) to an international internet governing body, the World Intellectual Property Organization. He wants the domain name taken away from the person who registered it.
Why would he do that rather than file, say, a libel suit? Because he knows he would lose a libel suit. He is a public figure and the site is clearly satirical. Under precedents like Falwell v Flynt, it is virtually impossible to win such a suit. The attorney for the site owner, Marc Randazza, has filed a response brief (PDF) that is hilarious in its attack on Beck’s thin-skinned and legally dubious argument. For instance, on the notion that someone might think the site was serious or that it was affiliated with Beck himself, he responds:

There is no indication that the Respondent has intentionally attempted to confuse anyone searching for Mr. Beck’s own website, nor that anyone was unintentionally confused – even initially. Only an abject imbecile could believe that the domain name would have any connection to the Complainant. 

We are not here because the domain name could cause confusion. We do not have a declaration from the president of the international association of imbeciles that his members are blankly staring at the Respondent’s website wondering “where did all the race baiting content go?” We are here because Mr. Beck wants Respondent’s website shut down. He wants it shut down because Respondent’s website makes a poignant and accurate satirical critique of Mr. Beck by parodying Beck’s very rhetorical style. Beck’s skin is too thin to take the criticism, so he wants the site down. Beck is represented by a learned and respected legal team. Accordingly, it is beyond doubt that his counsel advised him that under the First Amendment to the United States’ Constitution, no action in a U.S. Court would be successful. Accordingly, Beck is attempting to use this transnational body to circumvent and subvert the Respondent’s constitutional rights.

Parte the second:

I thought Mark Randazza, the attorney for the owner of the “Did Glenn Beck rape and murder a girl in 1990?” website, made a great argument with his initial response to Beck’s attempts to censor the website through an international tribunal. But he emailed me today with a link to another filing (PDF) he made that is pure genius. He begins by quoting Beck criticizing liberals for trying to have legal issues removed from American jurisdiction and taken to the international level:

Let me tell you something. When you can’t win with the people, you bump it up to the courts. When you can’t win with the courts, you bump it up to the international level.

And by golly, that’s exactly what Beck did. Randazza then notes that the UDRP, the process by which such complaints are resolved, does sometimes “render decisions that make First Amendment champions cringe” but that are in line with the laws of other nations. He then quotes Beck criticizing Harold Koh by arguing that he “wants to subordinate the American Constitution to foreign and international rules. We see that in his attack on First Amendment free speech principles, which he finds opprobrious.”

And quotes Beck declaring, “Once we sign our rights over to international law, the Constitution is officially dead.” So in light of this, Randazza has come up with a brilliant stipulation that will, he’s certain, be agreeable to Beck: Both sides should agree that the standard for judgment in the case under the UDRP should be the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

I love this attorney.  Love him, love him, love him

Gorgeous.  I hope there’ll be plenty more like this.  I’ll keep you all posted.