Saturday, November 11, 2017

Sacerdotus Is Stupid



A gay theist (gaytheist?) on the internet attempted to refute my recent post explaining why I'm an atheist. He claims it was "easy" and that I show a lack of understanding of science and philosophy! Ha! Nothing can be further from the truth. It's he who lacks in-depth understanding of physics, philosophy, religion, and atheism, and a refutation of his "refutation" was really easy for me, albeit just time consuming.

But since I'm off work for the next few days and I'm bored at home (it's freezing outside!) let me for the record refute his pathetic attempt at a refutation.

Here's his attempt at a refutation of my argument number 1. My original arguments can be read here.

1) The traditional notion of god isn't coherent


He responds:

The author here runs on a strawman argument. He simply does not understand the concept of God. The author assumes that God is subject to his terms or the terms of the understandings of man; that is to say, how we perceive and understand everything. He claims that theists resort to special pleading to address what he claims to be contradictions. However, he is doing exactly that. He argues that change requires times and fails to back this up. We know from cosmology that there was no time prior to cosmic inflation. Time is a product that came into existence after the "big bang." Despite this, a change did take place. If change did not take place, there would have been no "big bang" event. Moreover, the author fails to understand that God is a being, not a mere concept. This being is beyond all, transcends all. No theist, no atheist, no theologian or pope can ever truly understand God or explain Him. St. Augustine tried and experienced a vision of his angel as a young boy who was at the shore trying to put the ocean in a small hole in the sand. The boy went to and fro collecting water in a shell until St. Augustine stopped him and inquired as to what the boy was trying to do. The boy said he was trying to put the entire ocean in the hole he dug. St. Augustine brushed it off as a something that came out of a babe's mouth and explained that it was not possible for the ocean to be poured into a small hole. The boy replied that neither can he put the entirety of God into his mind.

Every time I'm told that a person has "refuted" atheism I'm sadly disappointed. This is one of those times. Here I'm clearly saying god is subject to logic. As I clearly wrote in the post, "god cannot do the logically impossible or be the logically impossible." These aren't my terms and conditions, or the limitations of human intellect, this is our ability to be logical. Deny this, and you throw all of logic out the window. That includes your ability to logically "prove" atheism false - or anything else. That change requires time is obvious and certain. To change requires two states of being that cannot exist at the same time, otherwise you'd get a contradiction: A = ¬A. This is logically impossible. That this guy doesn't understand that means he fails logic 101, and that means his assessment of the rest of the argument fails. This is why I like to get all theists to agree beforehand that god is not beyond logic. I do this because - exactly as I predict - theists resort to special pleading to explain away god's inconsistence. When he says god "is beyond all, transcends all. No theist, no atheist, no theologian or pope can ever truly understand God or explain Him," he is resorting to special pleading. If you can't coherently explain god, you can't coherently say god exists. This guy fails to do that. His response to argument 1 completely fails and did exactly what I predicted.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Toxic Masculinity From A Man's Perspective — Let's Go There


Author's note: I've been wanting to write more about social issues and sexuality for a while now. And since I just wrote a long follow up to why I'm an atheist, I thought I'd give atheism a rest for a little but. So I'm going to be focused on non-atheism and non-religious topics for a bit.



Just about a year ago I became aware of the term "toxic masculinity." While I had not been familiar with the term, I was aware of the concept. It's something I've been dealing with basically all my life. So what is it?

According to Wikipedia,

The concept of toxic masculinity is used in the social sciences to describe traditional norms of behavior among men in contemporary American and European society that are associated with detrimental social and psychological effects. Such "toxic" masculine norms include dominance, devaluation of women, extreme self-reliance, and the suppression of emotions.

According to Geek Feminism,

Toxic masculinity is one of the ways in which Patriarchy is harmful to men. It refers to the socially-constructed attitudes that describe the masculine gender role as violent, unemotional, sexually aggressive, and so forth.

The "toxic" denotes a distinction between masculinity simpliciter. There's masculinity, and then there's toxic masculinity. In other words, some masculinity is good, and some masculinity is bad. (More on this later)

I definitely agree that there are common attitudes among men that are extremely destructive. I grew up in New York City and was exposed to the thug culture where you had to always be strong, never show any fear, and be willing to kick someone's ass at the drop of a hat if they disrespected you, otherwise you were a "pussy" or a "fagot." Now luckily I never went too deep into the thug culture, but I know from experience how utterly destructive it is.

Thug culture exemplifies the very worst of toxic hyper-masculinity. Every boy and man is trying to be the toughest muthafucka out there. No one's nice out of fear it will be confused with weakness. You can never show any emotion, vulnerability, or weakness of any kind. Women are to be used and abused to enhance the male ego and gratification. Homophobia is ubiquitous: gay males, or perceived gay males are to be bullied, harassed, mocked, and beaten up. The most aggressive, sexist, sociopathic male gets the most respect. It's insanity.

That was the culture I experienced growing up and I hated it. It was toxic masculinity on steroids. While other varieties exist to varying degrees, there are common threads: men must be strong, aggressive, unemotional, womanizing, competitive, and avoid doing things commonly associated with femininity. 

There are a couple of things to say about toxic masculinity as I see it from a male perspective. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Toxic Masculinity And Toxic Feminism


Feminism is a tainted word now, and there's a growing backlash against it and self-described feminists.

The problem of course is that we have this one word 'feminism' that labels a wide variety of ideas ranging from basic gender equality to 'all men are rapists,' and when someone criticizes 'feminism' they may be criticizing something entire different from how you define feminism. That's why the first thing you should ask a critic of feminism is "How do you define feminism?" Their definition might be a give away to exactly what your disagreement is.

And this is exactly why I think we need a term like toxic feminism to distinguish it from feminism simpliciter. 

Traditionally feminism meant and stood for gender equality: men and women should be treated equally and not discriminated based on gender. Most people, and even many conservatives today are down with that. But in recent years many new ideas spread under the label of 'feminism' have gone way past the basic common sense notions of gender equality. And these more extreme views are what I like to call toxic feminism; it's the female counterpart to toxic masculinity.

For example, some feminists today are spending all of their time complaining about the "patriarchy" as if sexism is as bad as it was in 1960. They're saying things like "everything is sexist...and you have to point it all out," and they're applying wicked double standards clearly biased against men. Case in point:


As the old saying goes, if you think like a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. In other words, if you're convinced that everything is sexist, you will start to see sexism everywhere — even where there isn't any. You will get many false positives, and it will be very hard to admit you're wrong because your whole identity will be wrapped up in pointing out sexism.

This is very dangerous, especially to the good, rational feminists, because the toxic feminism being promoted is making all feminists, and feminism, look bad. There's a whole industry of people gaining notoriety criticizing and exposing feminism's uglier ideas, from Sargon of Akkad, to Paul Joseph Watson, to TJKirk, to Milo Yiannopoulos, and women like Laura Southern. Toxic feminism is giving the Right legitimate arguments against liberalism, and that's why I consider it so poisonous.

And I don't deny toxic masculinity (which I will be writing more about in the future). There is no ridiculous either/or dichotomy. You can acknowledge the feminist's claim to toxic masculinity is at least in part legit, and you can acknowledge that 'feminism' has some terrible ideas being promoted under it.

Nuance people, nuance!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Curious Case Of John Doe


Kevin Spacey was in one of my favorite movies of all time, Seven. In it, he played a fanatically religious serial killer who killed his victims according to the seven deadly sins of gluttony, greed, sloth, lust, pride, envy, and wrath. The movie is an absolutely brilliant masterpiece of story, cinematography, set design, acting, and editing all coming together.

Recently, as I became fascinated with religion I started seeing Kevin Spacey's John Doe character in Seven in a new light. Spacey has been accused of sexually assaulting men as well as some teenage boys for decades going back to the 1980s. He used the opportunity to come out as a gay man, revealing inadvertently that he'd been repressing his homosexuality for decades, at least publicly.


I always thought the character of John Doe in Seven was a little gay, and I've now begun to think that his Catholic religious fanaticism — which unambiguously takes a hard line stance on homosexuality, could be the reason why he killed in the name of his religion.

Oftentimes, repressed homosexuals who live in conservative religious communities and families become more fanatical and more fundamentalist than anyone else, like pastor Ted Haggard who railed against homosexuality only to be found paying men for sex. They're trying to prove themselves pious because of their internal struggle with their sinful desires. I imagine John Doe was most likely in that same situation: a repressed homosexual laden with guilt and confusion driven to violent religious extremism in an effort to prove how pious he is. There's probably scores of ISIS recruits in the same situation given how common this thread is.

And it seems that the real Kevin Spacey may not be that different. The recent allegations that he's been sexually assaulting men and teenage boys I think stems partly from his repressed homosexual desires. According to one account, Spacey invited a teenage boy over to his place and who he invited to sleep in his bed and when the boy refused and slept on the couch instead, he woke up to find Spacey holding him. This sounds to me like a gay man longing for male companionship, but doing it all the wrong ways perhaps because he can't come out of the closet.

Would Spacey have done such things had he just came out as gay earlier? Is his behavior a result of repressed homosexuality, or is it just a predatory sexual appetite like Harvey Weinstein's? I don't know. I'm totally speculating here. Certainly being gay in and of itself doesn't entail wanting to sexually assault men and boys. It's an aberration. 

The movie Seven doesn't go into such ideas so this is extra speculation on a non-extant movie character, but it could explain John Doe's behavior, and it could be the reason why he killed the way he did.

In that case John Doe's sin wasn't envy, it was lust.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Is the Atheist Movement Dying?


Seth Andrews of The Thinking Atheist podcast just made an episode on whether the 'Atheist Movement' is dying. I gave it a listen because I too have been hearing such claims touted around.

I think Seth's assessment of the claim is for the most part accurate. 'The Atheist Movement' is a loose term that specifies no one particular group or thing. It's composed of thousands of local groups, YouTubers and bloggers, dozens of national organizations, as well as high profile actors and comedians who are simply open about their atheism and critique religion.

They don't all have a common goal either. Some want to promote atheism. Some want to criticize religion. Others want to promote critical thinking and secular values. And still others just want to be openly atheist as to normalize atheism.

As far as atheist conference attendance, it's possible it could be dying. I've only gone to two, and both were this year. It seems that we might be past that heyday we hit roughly 5-10 years ago when 'New Atheism' exploded and became an international thing. The original four horsemen have largely moved on to other things, and one of them died. Two of the remaining three have since become controversial in atheist circles from certain views they hold, and have alienated many in the movement.

Movements are usually spearheaded by charismatic figures, and we don't have the major figures we once had. But maybe it's best we don't follow a leader. Maybe it's best we atheists have our various factions with our own agendas.

The thing is, if we become too splintered any atheist movement ceases to be. The quest for ever more ideological purity undoes us and we begin infighting. It's kind of like what's happened in Protestant Christianity, with its 45,000+ denominations.

I do want an atheist community of sorts, and I support an atheist movement. Heck, in a sense I'm in one. I'm co-organizing The Atheist Conference in part to revive the atheist movement and grow atheist communities, so I care deeply that such a thing as an 'atheist movement' exist.

So listen to Seth lament on the claims being made. If you're interested in the topic, it's worth a listen.



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