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.
Jon and Logan discuss the non-traditional roots of traditional marriage and how they’re no yoke.
Jon talks to Marissa Alexa McCool and Ari Stillman about podcasting gender!
Jon rants about how defenders of traditional marriage cannot justify their objections to same-sex marriage.
Jon and Logan break down a verse from the Bible and learn that rape apologists got their start on Moses’ watch.
Intro music by Austin Colón: http://austincolon.wixsite.com/music
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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:
On May 24, 2017 in a high-stakes Montana Congressional election, Greg Gianforte (R) “bodyslammed” Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs and broke his glasses. If you’re asking yourself what Jacobs could have done that was deserving of physical violence, the answer is this: he asked Gianforte questions. Gianforte was apparently fed up with reporters dogging him about the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and its dismal Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score. Jacobs’ was unfortunate enough to be the question that sent Gianforte over the edge. Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna (yes, Fox News!) witnessed the occurrence and documented it the following day here. Gianforte won the election at the same time as charges were being brought against him for assault.
A recent story detailed an interaction between a customer and a Walgreens pharmacist where, due to the pharmacist’s deeply held personal beliefs, the customer was denied a prescription for a birth control drug and made to go to a different pharmacy to have it filled. It’s important to note that Walgreens did not refuse to fill the prescription at all; their policy simply accommodates individual pharmacists who refuse to do their job and “allow” customers to fill their prescriptions at another Walgreens location where, presumably, a different pharmacist would be willing to fill it. Another note: this isn’t just a Walgreens thing; their policy reflects laws established at the state level allowing businesses to exercise discretion for conscientious objectors based on the employees’ moral or religious beliefs. In order to confirm the veracity of the story, I wrote an e-mail to Walgreens’ customer relations department and got the following response:
To fairly resolve these situations, and where allowed by state law, we believe it’s reasonable to respect the individual pharmacist’s beliefs by not requiring them to fill a prescription they object to on moral or religious grounds. We also believe it’s reasonable to meet our obligation to the patient by having another pharmacist at the store fill the prescription. If another pharmacist is not on duty, we will arrange to have the prescription filled at a nearby pharmacy before the patient leaves the store.
This is problematic for a number of reasons and I’d like to detail them here.
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.
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.
I don’t know who Matt Walsh is. I only know he has bad ideas. This “Hanging Out The Walsh” series will be an ongoing critique of his blog posts and podcast in an effort to highlight misinformation, blatant lies, and misapplication of religious ideas to the real world.
At random, I’m starting this series on a post titled “Dads, We Can’t Expect Our Sons to Become Real Men If We Don’t Teach Them How.” What strikes me first is the black-and-white view of gender roles Walsh imposes on his world. The theme of this post is that boys need to be taught to be “real men” (just as girls need to be taught to be “real women”) and that an inevitable break-down of society is occurring because men are (as a whole?) becoming more feminine. There are plenty of issues with this idea.
MSN posted an article today referencing France’s new law banning violence against children, including corporal punishment (or “spanking”). While Conservatives would argue this is yet another sign of the downfall of society, I’m encouraged that we’re now discussing on a broader scale the efficacy of hitting children. I previously wrote a piece titled “Spare the Rod” in which I discussed my personal experience with corporal punishment and the fact that it never really deterred me, but I want to point out a few items from the article with which I heartily agree: