Those who don’t know Thomas Smith (@TandtheB) and haven’t followed the controversy over Mythicist Milwaukee probably don’t have any interest in debates, Shitlords, or…Mythicist Milwaukee (MM). While I’m not in that camp I have stayed away from the controversy surrounding Sargon of Akkad, an apparently horrible human being and YouTuber with a rather rabid following. I had several reasons for doing this, which I’ll detail below, but after the nightmare that was MM I feel like I’ve dropped the ball as someone who calls themselves an activist and a part of the skeptical & humanist communities. This is a long overdue retrospective on my handling of this situation.
Back in 2011 I wrote a blog post titled “Respect For Respect’s Sake” detailing the reasons why a request for respect without good reason is invalid and not worthy of consideration. Over the weekend I was told I needed to stop calling Donald J. by his original family name, Drumpf, because he obviously changed it and I should show him some respect. This imperative was given to me by a Drumpf voter in my immediate family and I said I would neither do it on the grounds of a legal name change nor on the grounds of showing respect. I’d like to detail my reasons, as though any reasonable person would need help figuring it out.
First let me outline the reasons I don’t respect Donald J. Drumpf:
- He behaves like a spoiled child
- He revels in his ignorance of how the world works
- He uses the words, “Trust Me”
- He continues to demean women
- He never tells the truth
Now, to my main points regarding respect:
Matthew Archbold penned an article in the Catholic Register today wherein he professes to have proof that atheism is not a “cool choice.” Given that premise alone, I wouldn’t really disagree with the guy. The decision to embrace atheism or not, if based on whether it’s “cool,” would be a poorly reasoned decision and demonstrate a thought process counter to what most atheists view as rational or based in logic. We, in the United States, appear to have a fascination with celebrity and perceived authority so it’s no surprise that famous, outspoken atheists can have an impact on people’s decision-making processes but I’d argue that if the “coolness” of these people were the sole basis for someone’s atheism then we’re filling a pool with irrational people that will ultimately undermine the rationalist basis for the atheist movement (if you believe there’s a “movement” as such). In order to “prove” that atheism is uncool, Matthew presents eight arguments against the choice. I’d like to break these down and discuss them.
I’ve addressed the Catholic League in a prior post, which amounted to a disappointing lack of action from an organization that seems to be content in its role as a repository for outdated views on the world and society. I really wish they would have contacted me.
In the absence of a good story to tell about Catholic visitors, let’s talk about the religious freedom to discriminate. Catholic League’s Bill Donohue makes inconsistent and ignorant claims about a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a teacher against a Catholic school. The teacher is a gay man who got married, was so happy about it he posted about it on Facebook, and promptly got fired. You know, for being married.
This “Hanging Out The Walsh” series will be an ongoing critique of Matt Walsh’s blog posts and podcast in an effort to highlight misinformation, blatant lies, and misapplication of religious ideas to the real world.
Mr. Walsh published an article decrying the political persecution of David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt of the Center for Medical Progress due to charges being brought against them for having misrepresented themselves, filmed discussions without consent and heavily edited them before release in order to present an argument that Planned Parenthood murders as many babies as they can in order to sell fetal tissue to research companies and, I suppose, make a bajillion dollars in order to fund their Satanic cult.
Passively watching The Voice, I heard an amazing singer named Chris Blue who did a version of Smokey Robinson’s “The Tracks Of My Tears” that raised the hairs on my arm.
He managed to turn Alicia Keys around and get on her team, and she’s lucky to have his talent on her side. After his performance, Chris offered up a personal story that went something like this:
This is my fiancée who has battled bone marrow cancer and [some time ago] during surgery she flat-lined. I asked god to heal her and he did, so I made him two promises: I would marry this woman and I would try out on this show.
My issues with this statement (and statements like it) stem from the apparent disconnect with reality and a lack of awareness as to the human element of this story. I understand that people maintain deeply held religious beliefs and that those beliefs entail crediting that person’s chosen deity with miracles, coincidences, and happy accidents. I understand that, in the absence of a simple explanation for an event, it becomes easier and more natural to fall back on the “god did it” mantra and stop thinking about it.
In what appears to be a never-ending toddler tantrum, Drumpf again lashes out at a critic and attempts to hand-wave away his awful behavior. I’m posting this not because I want to give a crap about Donald Drumpf’s Twitter feed or his feelings, but because this man is our next President. The American electorate put this man in office. As such, I feel it’s important to make sure we understand who and what this guy is.
JT Eberhard’s contributor, Christina, wrote today of an article regarding atheist billboards in Colorado and the reaction of a “research fellow” from Focus on the Family named Glenn Stanton. He calls the billboards “bad manners” because they mock the beliefs of no less than 70% of Americans. The billboards read as follows:
God is an imaginary friend; Choose reality, it will be better for all of us.
I haven’t weighed in on the Cranston prayer banner ordeal yet, but I’d like to take a moment to recognize this young lady as a true patriot and an American hero. Jessica Ahlquist took a stand, not for her beliefs, but for the beliefs of every person in this country against an overwhelming tide of ignorance and hatred. She saw a divisive, sectarian prayer hung in a public school and asked that it be removed so that students and educators of all faiths (or none) could feel equally represented and respected. Jessica knew that this country was not founded on Christian principles but a desire to get away from an oppressive religious regime and allow everyone the freedom to choose what and how they’ll worship. Jessica knows this. Christians do not.
I saw a video recently from some kid who seems to have it all figured out. His thought process is a lot like mine was when I was a kid: my parents told me what to think, I adopted it as my own, and I knew I was right. His video is titled, “Atheism Sucks.” Dislikes on this video currently outnumber likes 3,113 to 89. You can watch it here:
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