Cancer? No Worries. God Will Fix That.

On December 31, 2014, my fourteen-year-old son was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Since that day, as one would expect, I have received many variations of the prayer sentiment. “I’m praying for you”, or “Your family is in our prayers”, or “Our whole church is praying for your son”. Now, even being very firmly in the atheist camp, I can recognize that sentiment for what it is. I realize that it is the person’s mechanism for attempting to say something encouraging in the face of something so awful. So when it happens, I smile and I sincerely tell the person, “Thank you. I really appreciate that”.

But then the prayer sentiment can go a step further. And that’s when my hackles start to get up. In this form, the sentiment has been something like, “You need to remember, God works miracles”, or “You should come to church”, or “You really need to turn things over to the Lord”. Do you see the difference? In the first set, the person is telling me that something is being done on our behalf. It doesn’t matter two shits if I happen to think that praying for my son does exactly as much good as eating a jelly bean for my son. That person is still simply expressing a nice sentiment. In the second set, the implication is that I need to change my behavior. And this is because the person talking to me can simply not fathom how anybody could know peace and learn to accept the situation without believing in the same invisible sky-man in which he or she believes.

This leads me to feel that it is at least worth discussing the fact that my lack of belief in any sort of god is every bit as sincere as your belief in Yahweh and Jesus. And just like you wouldn’t appreciate me coming to you in a time of stress and desperation telling you how much better your life would be if you would just stop with all of your ridiculous, bullshit beliefs, I don’t appreciate you coming to me and telling me that I need to change mine. I understand that many Christians in this country have never been adequately exposed to the notion that there are other ways of thinking, so I’m here to help with that.

Let’s start off with the easy part. I know you feel what you feel and you feel that everybody needs to feel what you feel. But here’s the thing…if you want to tell me that your god can perform a miracle and cure my son, then I see that as equivalent to a thief stealing my stuff but then finding it in his heart to give the stuff back. So, I guess…thanks for giving it back? But still…fuck you to begin with! I would have been much happier if you just hadn’t stolen my shit in the first place! Asshole. In other words, even if there is a god, I see no reason to praise him for undoing what he allowed to happen to begin with. So if that’s what you’ve got, then I say your god is an asshole who is unworthy of adulation even if he does exist.

But what can it hurt to put my faith in the Lord to help my child? Do you mean putting my faith in the hate-filled, genocidal phychopath told about in disjointed tales in a geriatric storybook and his zombie kid who gets pissed off at fig trees? I don’t know. Should we compare the track records of faith healing sects to those of science-based medicine? Because I have news for you, when you use science-based medicine and also still pray…<whisper>It isn’t your sky-wizard who makes things better</whisper>.

But now let’s move beyond the ridiculousness of me putting faith in a book that I find to be, literally, no different than The Iliad or The Odyssey (except nowhere near as good). Now let’s get to you telling me I should. Why? Why do you feel like you need to do that? As I said before, I’m not yammering on to you about the obvious benefits of not believing in a sky-man. For instance, when I found out my son had cancer, I didn’t have to reconcile that horrible fact with my belief in some “all-loving” god. I didn’t have to waste time and emotion jumping through hoops trying to figure out what sky-man meant by that. I didn’t have to resent sky-man.

I realize I’m telling you that now. But I would never have the gall to say something like that when you were at your wit’s end trying to figure out how to get your kid through cancer. So tell me, Christian who insists you know what I need better than I do…why don’t you have the same respect for me?

Post to Twitter Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to Reddit

Comments (1)

2012 Hottest Year on Record

Yup. Big shock, I know. 2012 was the hottest year on record. You know what? I don’t even have anything left to say about this dumb fucking denial of climate change. Just…shut…up.

Post to Twitter Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to Reddit

Leave a Comment

Oh Shit! God’s not in the Democratic Platform Anymore!

I love watching the religious right get outraged. I’m sorry, I meant stay outraged. I keep seeing online how people are outraged over the Democrats dropping language that included the word “God” from their official platform.

Interesting, indeed. Oh, you know what else doesn’t mention God? The Constitution.

Post to Twitter Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to Reddit

Leave a Comment

Legitimate Rape

I think Rep. Todd Akin is an inspiration. With one answer to one question about whether or not he would like all abortion banned, even in the case of rape, he gave idiots everywhere hope.

It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.

With that statement, Mr. Akin showed us that if you ever feel inadequate, all you have to do is look to him and remember that even if you think you are a gigantic dumbass, you can at least still get elected to Congress in the United States of America.

The fact that in his mind he can somehow distinguish between “legitimate” rape and apparently illegitimate rape is bad enough. But that part about the female body being able to “shut that whole thing down”? What…the…fuck? This guy is on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology? Is that a fucking joke?

The fact that this lowest common denominator is responsible for making decisions that affect us all is inexcusable. Not only should he drop out of the Senate race he’s in, but he should also resign his House seat. At the very least, his ass should be thrown off that committee.

Post to Twitter Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to Reddit

Leave a Comment

The Economy Runs on an Eight-Year Lag

Something just occurred to me. A canard I used to hear from conservatives all the time in the late 90s/early 2000s (and, for that matter, used to throw around myself) was that the economy runs on an “eight-year lag”. I never really stopped to think about it back then. I guess it seemed to make enough sense. Any policies that were enacted would of course take time to have any real effect so I thought it seemed reasonable that it would take many years to truly see the benefits or drawbacks.

But I don’t really hear that anymore. Once it popped into my head that it had been a long time since I’d heard that one thrown around, I thought about it for a second and then just had to laugh. That was obviously a bullet point to bring up in order to give Reagan credit for the economy of the 90s. It certainly couldn’t have been Clinton! Must be that there’s a lag or something! Praise still be to Reagan!

How long ago was eight years back from today? Oh that’s right. It was directly in the middle of George 2’s presidency. Which means that old bit of “logic” would pin the blame for this enormous pile of shit we have right now solely on Dubya. And we can’t have that now, can we? We need to blame the Kenyan socialist.

Post to Twitter Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to Reddit

Leave a Comment

Is Climate Change Really Still a Debate?

I’m totally shocked by this. July 2012 is the hottest month in the U.S. since records started being kept (if that link doesn’t work, you should be able to use the drop-downs to get to July 2012). Given that most of us in the U.S. spent July trying to dry our asses from the pools of our own sweat we were endlessly sitting in, that may not be much of a surprise.

Now, I want to be clear on something here…I am not trying to imply that because July 2012 was so hot, that it is proof of global warming. If I were to do that, I would sound as absolutely brain-dead as Sean Hannity does when he tries to say that snow in December disproves  global warming. Just in case you didn’t know how I felt, Sean Hannity is a fuckwit.

No, friends, the July 2012 stats don’t mean much to me. You know what does, though? Look over to the right. Click on that “Climate Change” category right there and see how many of these little tidbits I’ve thrown up over the past few years. You see, climate is not weather. It is not something that you measure right now! It is long-term trends. And even though this silly little blog hasn’t been around for very long…it’s been displaying a pretty consistent trend.

So, with that in mind, the number that I actually do find interesting right now is the fact that August 2011 – July 2012 is the hottest 12-month period the United States has seen in recorded history. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that even that stretch, on its own, is enough to put this debate to bed. But it hasn’t been just that stretch. This trend has been going on for a really long time now. In fact, give a good look at that graph from the link. It shows that the 13 warmest 12-month periods in recorded U.S. history have all occurred since 1999.* But I’m sure that’s just a hoax, right?

Come on people. Can we please stop the ridiculous denial and just shift the discussion over to how to proceed given the obvious evidence?


*Yes, I realize there were cold spells in there, too. But again, with climate, we’re looking at overall trends.

Post to Twitter Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to Reddit

Leave a Comment

My Brief Summary of the U.S. Health Care Debate

Teabagger: ‘Merica has the BEST helth car sistum in the WORLD! WOO! Jesus and guns! WOO!

Non-teabagger: Actually, if you look at the raw statistics, our health care system stacks up pretty poorly compared to other industrialized nations. We pay a lot more yet are substantially less healthy as a nation.

Teabagger: NO! It’s the BEST! Screw Canada! We have two many peeple not taking PERSONAL ACOWNTABILITY!

First Lady: That’s actually a very good point. We could all probably stand to exercise a bit more and mix in a carrot stick now and then. That way, we will be less of a burden on the health care system.

Teabagger: You SOCIALIST bitch! Get you’re godam HANDS of my SUPER-SIZE Happy Meel!

Non-teabaggers: {gaping-mouth stare of disbelief}

Teabagger: Hey, the State Fare’s starting! WOO! Bacon-wrapped corn dogs and fried butter! WOO!

It’s possible that I am over-using a couple stereotypes there. But I don’t care because son of a bitch it’s fun to do that! The point I am trying to make by using gross over-simplifications of the two sides is that, contrary to what the far right likes to think, we do, in fact, live in a society. We don’t live in isolated silos in which our actions affect only ourselves. Acknowledging the fact that you live in a society does not make you a socialist. It makes you reasonable.

People, our health care system sucks. If you think it doesn’t, then you haven’t been a victim of it. If that’s the case, congratulations. I hope it continues that way for you. But just because it hasn’t sucked for you, doesn’t mean it’s good.

I’m not claiming to know what the actual answer would be, if there is one. What I do know is that our system sucked before. And then came “Obamacare” and it still sucks. We went from a pile of shit to a different pile of shit because we have politicians who don’t actually give a shit.

But if you think we can continue to try treating health care the way we treat widgets in a capitalist economy, I think you’re misguided. Health care does not fall into the free-market economy the way Coke vs. Pepsi does. It’s infrastructure. Why do I say that? Because we don’t let people die if we can help it. And if you would rather live in a country that does let people die just because they can’t prove up front they can pay for it, I’m not even really sure how to have a conversation with you.

Post to Twitter Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to Reddit

Leave a Comment

Religion Through the Eyes of a Science-Minded Child

I have hesitated to share this story for awhile now because I know what the default reaction will be from a large chunk of our society (that I am forcing my views on my children). As many of you know, I am an atheist. But unlike many proud Christian parents in this country who happily announce to the world that their children are also good Christians, I prefer for my kids to make up their own minds. I have never discussed my views on religion with any of my three boys. If they have questions, I will answer them but I do not tell them what they should or shouldn’t think. The only thing I ask is that they approach everything in their lives with a respectable level of critical thinking.

A couple of months ago, however, the inevitable conversation came up. Again, I did not bring the subject up, but one night, the oldest boy came to me (the other two were at a sleepover) and said, “Dad, what’s an atheist?” My response to him was simply, “Well…an atheist is just somebody who doesn’t feel that any gods or supernatural beings are necessary to explain the world around us. ‘Theism’ is belief in gods. The prefix ‘a’ means without. Therefore, an a-theist is simply somebody without belief in gods”. His response back to me was, “Oh. So…you mean like you and me?” To which I replied, “Son, I’m not going to tell you what you are or are not. I think figuring out how we view the world around us is a journey that each of us needs to take on our own. But since you’re asking…yeah, that’s how I view the world”.

I want to reiterate that I have never discussed my views with any of my children before this conversation. I’m sure they pick up on subtle clues, but I have been far less direct than people who drag their kids to church every single week and drive into their heads that Jesus is the one and only way to salvation. The oldest boy loves science. Always has. And even at his young age, he was having trouble reconciling the stories he’d heard from the Bible (we did go to church for awhile because it was important to their mother) with what he knew to be true from actual observations of the world around him.

So many people think that religion, or at least belief in some supernatural power, is something that just comes naturally to the human brain. I’m not convinced that it is, though. If we had the level of understanding of the physical universe that we have today, but we did not have religious dogma passed down from generation to generation, would there really still be any need for it? I don’t think there would be.

Post to Twitter Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to Reddit

Comments (3)

“If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that”

Ahhhh…time to dust off the old blog. Anybody who knows me knows that life around here has been a bit crazy these days. So for the one or two of you who actually used to read this blog…I apologize. But now I see that I have reason to chime in briefly on things.

Hey…conservatives…yeah you. Do you think even one of you could bother to check the context of the “quote” you’re all ejaculating about all over the internet? One? Just one. Because taken on its own, that quote from President Obama (headline of this post) sounds horrible! I would fully agree with you if he said that, and that alone.

But guess what. He didn’t (transcript). Now I know this will be shocking, but Fox “News” edited that at a very convenient spot. Surprisingly, the point of his speech was not, in fact, to say, “Hey, business owners, here’s a big ol’ can of fuck off! Yeah, bitches! Suck it!” I know that’s what Fox “News” wants you to think, but that’s not quite reality. The goal of the speech was to point out that even if you own your own business, you didn’t do that 100% on your own. There is a lot of infrastructure built by the blood, sweat, and tears of a whole bunch of people that provided you with the opportunity necessary to build your business. That’s not taking anything away for your accomplishment. Not at all. It’s just merely pointing out that you have benefited from society whether you like to admit it or not.

I started my own consulting business and was quite successful for eight years before deciding to return to working for “the man”. But I’m not going to sit here and say that it’s because I worked harder than everybody else. In fact, there are tons of people who work way harder than I do but were never presented with the same opportunities. So if you’re a business owner who has the attitude that everything you’ve built was built by you and you alone, I’d say you’re pretty fucking arrogant.

And again…could just one of you look a little deeper than the hyper-sensational bullshit from a two-bit, corrupt “news” outlet? Good grief.

Man it’s good to be back!

Post to Twitter Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to Reddit

Comments (1)

Why Do I Loathe the GOP?

I’ve said it before but I think, given how much I bitch about politics, that it bears repeating. For what it’s worth, I am technically still a registered Republican (just too lazy to switch to Independent). Yes, I voted for W in ‘00 and in ‘04. I even held my nose to fend off the Palin stench and cast my vote for McCain in ‘08. Shut up…I had my reasons. See, I thought that the party cared more about reasonably-sized government and efficient use of tax dollars. I know, I know…I was delusional. Because what I’ve witnessed from the GOP in the past few years has been enough to make me do that face when you’re so astonished by what you’ve just seen or heard that your mouth sort of hangs half-way open, your eyes glaze over, and you truly look like somebody just asked you for a quick “off-the-top-of-your-head” answer to a differential equation.

What is it I hate about the party, you ask? It’s not everything, like many of you might think. Incidentally, notice how I have specifically called out “the party”. I don’t loathe Republicans. Most of my good friends are Republicans and are wonderful people who, even when we disagree, I admire and respect a great deal. It’s the true party leadership I can’t stand (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, etc.) and their puppets in the actual government. If normal Republicans were running things, the party wouldn’t have this problem. There could be a discussion.

For example, I think that trickle-down economics is complete and utter bullshit. I think it sounds good and in theory, it seems feasible. But when I look at the actual data, I don’t see it playing out the way it’s being sold. That being said…I could be completely wrong. I’m certainly not an economist. I’m open to having it explained to me in a way that makes me see the situation differently. That’s a conversation we can have.

On something like immigration policy, however, I actually tend to fall more in line with conservatives. As heartless as it may sound, if you’re here illegally…sorry. I think I might even be open to the idea of ending birthright citizenship, although I haven’t completely thought that one through. This is something else, though, that I’m fully willing to be educated on and could change my mind.

So if I can agree with some points of view and disagree with, but respect, other points of view, why is it that I detest this party and its candidates so fully and completely?

Simple. Quit trying to impose your fucking “values” on me. I seriously could not give less of a shit what your particular god thinks should go on in my bedroom or anyone else’s bedroom. For that matter, I couldn’t give less of a shit what your particular god thinks about anything. If you do…that’s great! Have at it! But trying to impose your god on the nation’s public policy is indefensible.

If something is a good idea, like say, not killing people, I don’t need the sixth commandment to tell me that. And really, what does it say about you if the only reason you can give to not kill people is because an ancient, contradictory book says so? I’m not killing people because I happen to value life in its own right, not because I’m worried about some freakishly weird, sadistic punishment after I die.

Would it be okay if my religion instructed me to kick guys who wear sweater vests in the junk on a daily basis? What would you think of that, Rick Santorum? That’s what I thought. The fact is, you don’t want anybody else pushing their values on you, so you shouldn’t be able to do it either.

Rather than getting your asses so puckered up over who is getting married to who, why or why not people might be having sex, or anything else for which your only response is “uhhhh…cuz the Bible says so”, why don’t you try focusing on reasonably-sized government and efficient use of tax dollars? Until then, you can count this one vote that used to be yours as solidly not yours.

Post to Twitter Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to Reddit

Comments (1)