Paraphrasing Orwell in the light of Freethoughtblogs

“Criticism is ‘silencing’, you know. Banning, though, is just maintaining ‘safe space’.”

“It is churchy. It’s the kind of behaviour that made me give up religion in the first place.”  ‘tardbook friends comments. To FfTB’s horror, they’re female, and worse, don’t think I’m a monster.

“Where do you find these fanatics that most atheists don’t give a damn about?”

“Just saw this article at The Crisis Factory. You called it over a year ago. New, New Atheism.” — and the obligatory males have to stick stick their dicks in.

Though many will deny it, there is no such thing as a person that does not get a smug satisfaction rush out of the simple act of saying “I told you so…”

Yes, I called new, new atheism, but it was well over a year ago. At my best estimate, I was sounding the warning bells as far back as 20081. It was only here, over the last year, that I have started pushing the point that the rabble that now hogs the public spaces of the godless have little, if nothing, in common with the in-your-face, out-of-the-closet new atheism pioneered by what has come to be known as the Four Horsemen – Dawkins, Dennet, Harris and the late, dearly missed Hitchens. (more…)

Yeesh. This one landed in my spam bin – it would be nice to think it was because Akismet is hyper-intelligent enough to detect substance free nonsense, but I am not that optimistic. It is however the first false positive I’ve found. Quantum sardonics again.

Suffice it to say, it took a while to pick my jaw up off the ground. It’s the sort of thing you want to dismiss as a troll, but to my eye, looking at the pointers, logs and links, it’s the real thing. And that is what is so disturbing. I wanted to reply in the comment thread, but for space considerations it’s here. In any case, it really does need to be filed in its own compartment so it’s not lost in the other noise. It’s just too staggering, in an abandon-all-hope kind of way. Here we go –

PZ Myers Says:
July 24, 2011 at 9:36 pm e

I read the blog post in question. I also read this one. Recall that my criticism was this: (more…)

Rebecca Watson: unleashing her inner Goebbels (Wikimedia Commons)

Karl Popper, one of the grandfathers of the philosophy of science, popularised the concept of falsifiability to define the inherent testability and, by extention, validity of any scientific hypothesis.

Umberto Eco extends this philosophical approach into the realms of human communications in his 1976 work A Theory of Semiotics

Semiotics is in principle the discipline studying everything which can be used in order to lie. If something cannot be used to tell a lie, conversely it cannot be used to tell the truth: it cannot in fact be used “to tell” at all.

In other words, as far as language, information and communication goes, there is no such thing as “neutrality”1. There is only true or false. It is not possible for true to ever be false, but false more often than not attempts to masquerade as true – whether it’s conscious deception or the full blown cognitive disorder of the true-believer, the falsehood remains false and even the worst perpetrator, deep down inside, has the knowledge that it is false. Those that choose to disturb the voice of the conscience inside the minds of those that wish to believe falsehoods to be true run the risk of unleashing quite a demonic level of hostility. And we’ve rather had our noses rubbed in all of that lately…

So when Rebecca Watson, Greta Christina and cohorts utilise language and communications to create reality distortions, deceptions and manipulations on such a grand scale that it would make Joseph Goebbels blush, it is positively an invitation, and duty, to expand our own vernacular in countermeasure. Sophist waffle needs to be defined before it can be apprehended, and without definition, it is all the more easy for these stage magician tricks to ensnare the unwary. So for the sake of extending our language in this semantic arms race, here are a few new terms for the self-defense arsenal0.

Ad himinem (more…)

Fantastic rant via The Fat Atheist / The Amazing Atheist


Reiterates many of my points, just without my token efforts at self-restraint. Yes it is puritanism. Yes it is quasi-religious. Yes it is deranged dogmatism. Yes PZ Myers is pwned. Yes, yes, yes. ::applause::

A note for the ladies – (more…)

[This item grew as a footnote to another post, but kinda grew larger than I intended and really does have enough meat to be a standalone item.]

Quantum Sardonics & The Stanford Prison Experiment

Information is colluding again.

Reviewing this madness, this is shaping as yet another example of what I call quantum sardonics, where the sub-atomic universe conspires to bring otherwise unrelated data into bizarre synchronicity that can drive some folks insane. Serendipitous coincidences, providing you are not bat-shit insane to begin with, can be fascinating things, often giving new insights and understanding of the world around us. Science itself is full of such stories of ideas spontaneously generating via unrelated events colluding. Failing to maintain objectivity about it is probably the root cause of what we know as mysticism, and quietly collating and ruminating on these coincidences and understanding how they may reflect elsewhere is what I like to call wisdom.

So it is quantum sardonics at play here as, on the tail of the Watson/Skepchick circus, we find that just this week it is also the 40th anniversary of the Stanford Prison Experiment. The experiment was fascinating in that it showed how quickly what we consider to be humanity vapourises in social bubbles where artificial division is imposed, all regular inhibitions are removed and one side is given authoritarian carte blanche and immunity from accountability or consequence, while the other is marginalised and stripped of all powers of protest or defense. (more…)

[or, Why Gender is a Peripheral Distraction to the Disease]

I really hate personal questions. Not because I am shy or dysfunctional or socially crippled, but because any answers I may give are unlikely to be understood by the Inquisitor and will only lead to yet more questions ad nauseam and I no longer have any passion for confusing those that favour yapping over reading. I’m a complicated guy.

On the question of political and social philosophy however, I am currently at an equilibrium that I am comfortable with and identify with being a Cynic1 and cosmopolite. I used to be what used to be called libertarian (in the classical sense, which has little to do with the kind of “libertarianism” now being peddled in the US by Teabaggers and associated sociopath crackpots), but then I read about stuff like the history of the French public sanitation system and arrived at the conclusion that while the politics of selfishness may be fine at a local village scale, rolling it out as a macro-economic model for an entire country or planet is beyond merely insane, unless you actually have a thing for a society modeled on Mad Max. I’m still pretty much a social libertarian inside though – dope, guns and fucking in the streets; ignorance is no excuse for a law2 etc.

At first glance, Cynicism and cosmopolitanism may seem like an odd marriage, but not so. The term “cosmopolitan” itself was coined by Diogenes of Sinope

Of Diogenes it is said: “Asked where he came from, he answered: ‘I am a citizen of the world (kosmopolitês)'” – [via the cesspit of lies]

In fact, the two movements are a pretty precise fit for each other – perhaps the only real distinction is that the Cynics are just cosmopolites that really like Derek and Clive. (more…)

There is something so inherently pious and religious in morbidly dwelling on the perceived moral shortcomings of others.

It is a rather unfortunate habit being picked up more and more by those I describe as the New, New Atheists – the unwashed masses that have ridden into town on the coattails of the New Atheist vanguard and have the newfound bravado of the herd, and consequent shamelessness in declaring their existence to the world. The unfortunate downside, as with any kind of populism, is that the bad usually equals or exceeds the good.

There is no shortage of petty drama and moral panic being whipped up by these newcomers – they are proving they can more than go toe-to-toe with their theist counterparts as far as shrieking, indignant outrage goes. It is almost a daily occurrence – somewhere, some kind of new hysteria is brewing. From TamTamPamela making jokes about Pat Robertson that flew over everyone’s heads, to cretins that still can’t wrap their minds around what Google actually does, the fear-n-loathing never sleeps. (more…)