Sunday, 29 March 2009

Homophobic Daniel Strikes Again

In one of my recent posts, I have referenced a Singaporean Christian's blog post and exposed the hypocrisy and lunacy behind the homophobic stances of Christians who think that homosexuality is an abomination of sorts, and how they will use all manner of trickery and chicanery to convince the rest of us that homophobia and prejudice is not part of their game plan.

And lo and behold, Daniel the Christian has replied, posting a pretty long rebuttal to my post. I shall do my utmost to debunk him as much as I can without boring my readers to death, so here goes.

1. Why is Section 377A a "Dinosaur"?

T-Rex Model Section 377A..........

One of my first rebuttals on my original post refers to Section 377A as a "dinosaur", a relic of our own British colonial heritage. Understand that when I use the word "dinosaur", I was using it in the metaphorical sense of the word; there isn't quite a dinosaur defined as 377A, the last time I did check up on paleontology literature! But, Daniel seems to take me a little too literally:

"... to support this dinosaur [S377a] from the colonial age."

Where in the article did BFCD proved that is it a dinosaur? He didn't, just asserted it was without any argumentation to show why this was the case.

Maybe Daniel just doesn't get it.

Since Daniel has highlighted 377A, I thought it will be a good opportunity for me to elaborate more on this pathetic "penal" code: It was introduced to both British India and Singapore in the late 1850s under the Indian Penal Code, although it took a couple more years, in1872 to be exact, before the law was brought into operation in Singapore, Penang and Malacca.

Because 377A is an old remnant of old British law, I find it only appropriate to classify it as a "dinosaur", which, for all intents and purposes, does not indicate 377A as a man-eating T-rex.

2. No Proper Research by American Psychological Association?

In his rebuttal, Daniel claims that APA capitulated under fierce political pressure and caved in to the demands of the gay community, that there was little research done to validate the fact that homosexuals are not sick, demented social animals. He makes the assertion with reinforced material from conservative literature:

"Who determines who or what is enlightened? As with regards to the American Psychological Association, first of all, why are they correct? Secondly, the facts of the case for why this is so speak for themselves:

'On December 15, 1973 the board of trustees of the American Psychiatric Association capitulated to the demands of the radicals. The homosexuals had begun to speak of unyielding psychiatrists as “war criminals” (ibid.:88), with obvious implications. Possibly in fear for their safety, and certainly wearied by constant harassment, they declared that homosexuality was no longer an illness.

The resulting referendum, demanded by outraged members of the association, was conducted by mail and was partially controlled by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (Rueda:1982). The homosexualists won the vote and the new official definition of homosexuality as a disorder was changed to include only those who were “unhappy with their sexual orientation” (Adam:88). Historian Enrique Rueda writes,

This vote was not the result of scientific analysis after years of painstaking research. Neither was it a purely objective choice following the accumulation of incontrovertible data. The very fact that the vote was taken reveals the nature of the process involved, since the existence of an orthodoxy in itself contradicts the essence of science (Rueda:106).'

[Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams, The Pink Swastika (Sacramento, CA, USA: Veritas Aeterna Press, 2002), p. 313]"
Here, Daniel makes two assertions, one of which is, again, "persecution mode" (You will see the same arguments being reiterated all over his rebuttal post):

1. Psychologists who hold a "gays are sick fags" stance had their lives threatened.

2. There is little research done in the area of gay psychology to prove that gays aren't really mentally sick.

Research Material on Gays and Lesbians from APA


Interestingly, a cursory check on the APA website reveals quite a bit of gay research, starting all the way back to 1975!!! Here are some materials available:

1. Armesto, J. C. (2002). Developmental and contextual factors that influence gay fathers' parental competence: A review of the literature. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 3, 67 - 78.

2. Conger, J.J. (1975). Proceedings of the American Psychological Association,
Incorporated, for the year 1974: Minutes of the Annual meeting of the Council of Representatives. American Psychologist, 30, 620-651.

3. Conger, J. J. (1977). Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, Incorporated, for the legislative year 1976: Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Council of Representatives. American Psychologist, 32, 408-438.

4. Fox, R.E. (1991). Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, Incorporated, for the year 1990: Minutes of the annual meeting of the Council of Representatives August 9 and 12, 1990, Boston, MA, and February 8-9, 1991, Washington, DC. American Psychologist, 45, 845.

5. DeLeon, P.H. (1993). Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, Incorporated, for the year 1992: Minutes of the annual meeting of the Council of Representatives August 13 and 16, 1992, and February 26-28, 1993, Washington, DC. American Psychologist, 48,782.

6. DeLeon, P.H. (1995). Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, Incorporated, for the year 1994: Minutes of the annual meeting of the Council of Representatives August 11 and 14, 1994, Los Angeles, CA, and February 17-19, 1995, Washington, DC. American Psychologist, 49, 627-628.

7. Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. (2002). American Psychologist, 57, 1060-1073.

8. Lofton v. Secretary of Department of Children & Family Services, 358 F.3d 804 (11th Cir. 2004).

9. Mays, V. M., & Cochran, S. D. (2001). Mental health correlates of perceived discrimination among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 91, 1869-1876.

10. Meyer, I. H. (2003). Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: Conceptual issues and research evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 674-697.
Patterson, C.J. (2000). Family relationships of lesbians and gay men. Journal of Marriage and Family, 62, 1052- 1069.

11. Patterson, C.J. (2004a). Lesbian and gay parents and their children: Summary of research findings. In Lesbian and gay parenting: A resource for psychologists. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

12. Patterson, C. J. (2004b). Gay fathers. In M. E. Lamb (Ed.), The role of the father in child development (4th Ed.). New York: John Wiley.

13. Patterson, C. J., Fulcher, M., & Wainright, J. (2002). Children of lesbian and gay parents: Research, law, and policy. In B. L. Bottoms, M. B. Kovera, and B. D. McAuliff (Eds.), Children, Social Science and the Law (pp, 176 - 199). New York: Cambridge University Press.

14. Perrin, E. C., and the Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health (2002). Technical Report: Coparent or second-parent adoption by same-sex parents. Pediatrics, 109, 341 - 344.

15. Stacey, J. & Biblarz, T.J. (2001). (How) Does sexual orientation of parents matter? American Sociological Review, 65, 159-183.

16.Tasker, F. (1999). Children in lesbian-led families - A review. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 4, 153 - 166.

17. Tasker, F., & Golombok, S. (1997). Growing up in a lesbian family. New York: Guilford Press.

Who on Earth is Being Persecuted (Hint: It ain't the Christians)?

The "Pink Swastika" claims that the gay movement had effectively staged a political movement to ensure that psychologists comply with their "pro-homosexual" stance, and cited possible death threats as a "possible" reason why all psychologists have to comply. Sounds familiar?

Yes, it does. Ben Stein made similar claims about "persecution" amongst members of the scientific community who ostracized fellow scientists for not talking evolution seriously, choosing to instead believe in Creationism and its inherent, Intelligent Design. Of course, we learned much later that most of the assertions made by Ben Stein was demonstrably false (Most of the scientists interviewed weren't sacked by the relevant institutions at all!) but that is beside the point: Christians love to and will always claim to be persecuted in almost every circumstance when they are being lampooned for their loony claims and downright bigotry.

Matthew Shepherd: Murdered for Being Gay By Loving Jebus Lovers

The truth is, we all know that gays are already persecuted and in some cases, murdered by unctuous, brash Christians who cannot even tolerate the mere sight of gays: Besides Alan Turing, there is also the tragic case of Matthew Shepherd, a young man who was left to die on a fence by Christian homophobs who thought of him as nothing more than a slab of meat.

But....but......what do we know? Christians were, are, and will always be the persecuted ones!

3. Juxtaposing Homosexuality with Incest, Pedophilia and Bestiality

Ah, the hilarity of juxtaposition.

Daniel employs a little bit of a flimflam here: Using my exact words, he attempts to justify his homophobic stance with my words so as to attempt to prove a point. How very chic, and how very stupid.

My exact words:

"Like the anti-slavery campaigners that has [sic] preceded gay campaigners, gay advocates are not looking at enforcing a gay lifestyle on the general community. All they are asking for is to be treated equally, not to be treated like some slum-ghetto jerk or a lower caste of human beings destined to be trampled upon when it comes to living a normal, citizen's life. Homosexuals ask for the right to be treated fairly, the right to civil practices such as marriages, and the end of bigotry and intolerance towards gays. How is that for shoving "gayness" down the throats of every other boy, girl or child???
"

His depiction:

"Now if we substitute homosexuality and its cognate words with beastiality and its cognate words, this is what we will get.

'Like the anti-slavery campaigners that have preceded beastiality campaigners, beastiality advocates are not looking at enforcing a lifestyle of beastiality on the general community. All they are asking for is to be treated equally, not to be treated like some slum-ghetto jerk or a lower caste of human beings destined to be trampled upon when it comes to living a normal, citizen's life. Beastialists ask for the right to be treated fairly, the right to civil practices such as marriages, and the end of bigotry and intolerance towards beastialists. How is that for shoving "beastiality" down the throats of every other boy, girl or child???'

One could always do the same for incest and pedophilia. Why limit oneself to homosexuality? If one objects to one and not the other (homosexuality), upon what basis can you say so?"

This is a pretty cheap shot, considering that this is an argument about the legitimacy of gays in normal, secular life. Since he has deployed such a non-sequitor form of argument, I will try to explain the rationality behind the additional three sexual practices.

Pedophilia

Pedophiles are, in essence, sexual criminals who prey on the gullibility of minors in order to derive physical and/or sexual pleasure from them. Like drinking bans for minors, sex between adults and minors are banned because minors are not considered full-fledged adults under most secular laws, with a view of protecting minors. Hence, pedophilia is and cannot be legal under secular law.


Pedophilia is a crime because it exploits the sexual vulnerability of children; this isn't hard to comprehend, unless, of course, you are a Christian who only reads the bible as a sole source for moral codes (Interestingly, the bible has nothing to say about crimes such as pedophilia........no wonder the Catholic priests can have all the fun in the world with altar boys.......)

Incest


Incest is considered pretty much a sexual taboo in a sense that sex between the inner sanctum of close relatives is generally prohibited and discouraged. There is some logic in this: In the animal kingdom as well as homo sapiens, inbreeding amongst close relatives or even siblings can lead to high occurrences of genetic diseases amongst off-spring caused by a lack of genetic variation. This is also the primary reason why zookeepers and naturalists try to separate siblings as much as possible to avoid inbreeding.


In the case of humans, incest is primarily more of a social taboo, and in a number of countries it is generally banned, although consensual adult sex between siblings and close relatives is not prohibited in some countries.


Bestiality


Bestiality generally refers to the act of humans having sex with animals: It is a rare sexual fetish, and short of being a PETA representative I see no criminal offense being committed, unless if you include animal abuse in the picture.


While my original statements were created with homosexuality in mind, Daniel chooses to juxtapose it with incest, pedophilia and bestiality, hoping to find a deviant link between them all. The truth is, only pedophilia and incest have criminal connotations, and homosexuality does not, and all four sexual acts cannot be mentioned in the same breath.


Nonetheless, I have no problems with substituting homosexuals with "bestiality" and "incest", although pedophilia is a no-no because it violates laws protecting minors.


Wrong Juxtaposition


By juxtaposing homosexuals with bestiality, incest and pedophilia, Daniel shows an amazingly poor grasp in sexual orientation (maybe because he is a virgin? I can only speculate....).


Ethically speaking, I have no problems if people who decide to indulge in a bit of bestiality and incest decide to fight against oppression; Of course there will be PETA folks who claim that animals should be protected from sexual violation by humans, but then again we eat them anyway, so I don't see a problem here. As for incest, as long as it does involve two consenting adults and no minors, I don't see a problem here either. Pedophilia is of course not condonable given the ethical and legal aspects of it.


And so, what exactly is the problem here? Not much, except that folks in all three sexual tendencies are not being condemned in homophobic proportions! How many times have you heard Christians condemn pedophilia? Close to none (Maybe its because of the priests.......) Or even bestiality? Hardly ever.


Conclusion? Daniel Chew's juxtaposition faux pas fails utterly and completely, while my comparison with gay rights movement and anti slavery movement dovetails nicely because both groups are being discriminated for their skin color and sexual creeds respectively.


4. No Such Thing as Homophobia!!!


Another fundamentally absurd claim from Daniel is that homophobia does not exist in the annals of his dictionary.


Interestingly, though, Homophobia is a legitimate word in the oxford's dictionary:


noun an extreme and irrational aversion to homosexuality and homosexuals.

— DERIVATIVES homophobe noun homophobic adjective.

Some of his claims border on the ludicrous, as I will attempt to show you:

i. Gays allowed to Marry (But not with gays of the same sex gender):

"Note also that all homosexuals have the right to marry; nobody is stopping them from marrying a person of the opposite gender. Homosexuals are similarly treated equally; homosexuals who take part in sodomy are treated the same as heterosexuals who take part in sodomy, so there is no discrimination at all!"

Now this statements beggars a question: Why would a gay man marry a woman, or for the matter, a lesbian marry a man, if they do not share a mutual sexual appreciation of the opposite sex?

Simply put: If you do not wish to eat potatoes, but the waiter serves you potatoes nonetheless, would the excuse "Look, I am still serving food to you nonetheless" suffice?

Telling the gay man that his rights to marriage is not infringed upon by saying that he is allowed to marry a woman is the worst kind of excuse, and that coming from Daniel, is not a surprise, considering his aversion towards gay marriage. Why won't Daniel try marrying a guy for a change? Of course, the idea will be repulsive to him, but no more so than telling a gay man to marry a woman!!!

Frankly, this argument is downright silly and moronic: I simply cannot even fathom how a man of Daniel's credentials can come up with anything as stupid as this.

ii. The Right to Bigotry?

Daniel rants on, demanding the right to be a bigoted fool:

"The fact of the matter is that homosexuals and their homosexualist allies want our approval for their sinful actions, and will not tolerate any dissent at all. That is why they invent such words as the misnomer of homophobia which is part of what I call WMEB (Weapons of Mass Emotional Blackmail). The double-standard of these homobigots are evident in that they demand that we must accept them, while they continually do not accept and attack us. If one wants to play the "phobia" game, why can't they be called "homophobe-phobes"? And those who oppose murderers are called "murderer-phobes", while those who support the killing of the unborn can be called "paedophobes" or 'embryo-phobes'?"

Ah, dissent. You know, there is a slight difference between bigots and dissenters: You can, within certain legal limits, oppose to something. For example, I hate to eat durians. I think they leave a nasty smell in your breath after you have consumed it, and it tastes like manure. I can, in essence, criticize durians, and people can laugh at me for my anti-durian stance, and so on and so forth.

But suppose I incite a campaign against people who eat durians, picket funerals of durian lovers, smash the shops of durian vendors, and clubbing durian eaters to death, and so on and so forth. That's hate crime, and my hatred for durians would have reached a brand new level of hate.

Like the durian analogy, Christians are not just "opposing" homosexuality: They want to execute a blanket hatred against gays and when they are being lampooned, they retreat into their "persecution" shells, claiming that they are being persecuted. And presto, the aggressor becomes a victim in a near instant!

And once more,Daniel uses the juxtaposition method to "explain away" homophobia: One does not call people who oppose murders "murderphobes" because such opposition is rational and entirely reasonable, given that murder involves annihilating a human life, a crime which is exacerbated by the fact that dead people cannot be reanimated back to life. On the other hand, homophobes do not have any real, rational reasons for their homophobia beyond a biblical scope. The real problem with Daniel is he cannot differentiate between real, criminal harm from imaginary infractions against an invisible deity.

5. A Moral Dimension?

Like most Christians, Daniel brings in a moral dimension to these kind of arguments, which is not wrong; what I find really disgusting is that behind the hidden facade of "morals", ancient, biblical laws are being invoked in 21st century modern Earth:

Daniel explains his moral objections here:

"That the comparison between homosexuality and slavery is a false analogy can therefore be seen through this reductio ad absurdum. Just because something is opposed and criminalized does not make it bigotry, in the same way as the criminalization of murder does not make one a "murderer-phobe"! The reason why slavery was wrong was because it was proven objectively to be morally wrong. Homosexualist advocates however generally refuse to touch on the morality argument at all."

Contrary to what Daniel claims, slavery wasn't proven to be "morally wrong": For centuries, slavery was a well-established moral and civil code, and while black slavery was not invented by Christians (Africans themselves were dealing with slave trade, as well as many other cultures, long before the Europeans came into the scene), most Christians saw nothing wrong with slavery.

The problem with "proving slavery is wrong" is that you can't seriously "prove" it; you can attempt to justify it in many ways. Thomas Jefferson, for example, owned slaves even when he sought to abolish the slave trade. Morality becomes a particularly thorny issue because it depends on whose lens are being used to view a moral issue.

Here is where secular humanism and ethics come into play: Slavery is wrong because it exploits the welfare of slaves for the purpose of labor. Slaves, unlike laborers, do not have the freedom to quit their jobs, and are awarded with little or no compensation for their sufferings. They do not have the rights as free men do, and are obliged to be whipped whenever a master feels fit to wield a leash. Such a system of abuse is wrong because it denies the man or woman who endures such suffers the basic human rights that ought to be accorded to every man, woman and children.

In short, human empathy comes first. But the Christians do not want that.

Using a system of valuation based on codified bible laws, Christians have only one mantra: The bible way or the highway. The bible says homosexuality is wrong, so it is wrong. Simple argument, sharp and precise, but ultimately useless because biblical laws are primarily written to satisfy whoever holds the key to power when the bible is written, and also the imaginary sky daddy for whom the bible specifically holds supreme, and all humans must prostrate and subjugate themselves to.

The question here then, is this: Is the bible even a good, exemplary example of rational, sane rules?

Here's some caveat for you:

Kill Witches
You should not let a sorceress live. (Exodus 22:17)

Kill Homosexuals
"If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives." (Leviticus 20:13 )

Kill Fortunetellers
A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame for their death. (Leviticus 20:27)

Kill Adulterers
If a man commits adultery with another man's wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10)

Kill Fornicators
A priest's daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death. (Leviticus 21:9 )

When folks tell you that the bible is more "humane" than Islam, they are, of course, lying in your face. Granted that most of the more "unsavory" portions of the bible lie in the Old Testament, and I have heard Christians explain away these laws as the "Old Covenant", but these Christians won't exactly tell me why God was so morose and vindictive back then, and why, if those OT laws ain't working, are they still lugging around the OT around and quoting them in churches all over the world.

But back to the moral argument. Should we accept such ancient drivel as standard secular law? Do you want to kill your daughter simply because she starts "fornicating" with the hot barber's son next door? Well, if you wish to mete out such punishments, then I will presume that a trip to Afghanistan would be mandatory: Those turban-wearing folks sure know how to give a good stoning to that sluttish daughter next door!!!

6. Legal Right To Homosexuality

Herein lies another dimension to the homophobic argument: Homosexuality should be banned as a criminal act.

Fortunately, the real ethical and legal issue really supports gay rights: An activity can only be classified as a crime if it directly inflicts harm on a victim. Hence, as long as two homosexuality does not inflict harm on external parties, as long as it is carried out between consensual adults, then, no, the state has no right to interfere with the rights of gays, and they should be accorded equal status when it comes to civil issues.

But no, Daniel again reiterates his stand:

"BFCD incidentally mentions how government has "no legal basis for enforcing a religiously-slanted ruling ". However, he has no problems with government passing laws to promote homosexuality, which IS a anti-religiously-slanted ruling. This shows that BFCD and all homosexualists are actually not against government legislature that enforce [anti-]religiously-slanted ruling, but against government legislature that is against homosexuality. The hypocrisy in this is astonishing, seeing how the homosexualists desire to pass so-called "hate crimes" laws which are anti-religiously-slanted rulings used to persecute Christians. As it has been said before, only one [deviant] group allows itself to have all the rights to do what it wants including indoctrinating children in their lifestyles, while the civil and religious rights of all others must acquiesce to them! If that is not discrimination and bigotry, what is?"

Here, Daniel's intentions are clear: If the law offends religion, the law has to give in to religion. Otherwise, the law will be deemed anti-religious. My way or the highway. Fair enough, but Singapore is not a theocratic Christian state.

Hate laws are designed to incriminate those who inflict harm on designated groups of people: Sure, it is largely viewed as redundant, unless of course there is real evidence that people are being pickled and beaten up because of their creed or race, and that is precisely what is happening to gays. People beat them up and sometimes murder them for no other reason other than the fact that they are gay.

Daniel claims that gays are quite inclined to impress upon children to be gay: He probably did not read my previous post, so I shall reiterate it again.

Gays in general are not keen in promoting a "gay" lifestyle. Just because there are gay pubs sprouting in parts of Singapore or in San Francisco doesn't equate to a deliberate campaign to promote homosexuality. And I feel the need to reiterate this again: It is next to impossible to influence a person to change his or her sexual orientation!!!! Encouraging gays to come out of the closet also doesn't equate to promoting homosexuality, but we won't expect Christians to understand any of this, will we?

When it comes to "promoting" campaigns, Christians sure have it all their way! Oh sure Christians love to promote their religion by the way: Why aren't people discriminating them for their outright proselytizing in schools and government institutions? Heck, I get to be evangelized even when I was removing stitches at Singapore General Hospital! Why isn't anyone complaining?

The answer is simple: There's no grandiose secret op to persecute Christians, and if Daniel Chew wishes to claim that Christians are being "persecuted" in Singapore, he might want to take a look at a pastor's paycheck at New Creation Church, tax-free, while the rest of us wallow in despair in bad economic times.

7. Final Conclusion from Daniel the Homophobic
Christian

Finally, Daniel finalizes his argument: Same verbatim, and some advice for the good ole Beast:

"In conclusion, BFCD's argumentation has been shown to a house of straw without any substance whatsoever, and this has not even address his outrageous statement that there are no persecutions of Christians in all but Muslim countries! (Even by his own faulty reasoning, is North Korea a Muslim country then?). BFCD's argumentation is totally irrational without any basis in fact, which is after all what all secular humanist arguments all show up to be, just that some are more sophisticated than others. BFCD and all atheists are exhorted to repent of their hatred of God and their irrationality, and turn to God for forgiveness of their sins."

Ah yes, persecution mode again: Mr Daniel never fails to evoke the specter of communist rule: Communist governments seem to be able to pick only on Christians, churches and more Christians.

While I would not deny that Christians did have a hard time during communist rule due to their close associations with the bourgeois class, clearly the Christians weren't being singled out: During the Cultural Revolution when the Chinese Communist Party sought to cement its grip on China, many intellectuals were also imprisoned with the religious lot. Today, large numbers of Chinese Christians are legalized to carry out their activities under Communist-approved churches. Sure that's censorship, and no it is not an ideal state of affairs, but this is hardly persecution in the strictest sense. As for North Korea, more than half the population are staving off starvation; clearly they have more problems than simply "persecuting" Christians.

That leaves us with the equally homophobic Muslims, who specifically target Christians and other minority religions for perceived infractions such as apostasy and blasphemy.

And finally, me and my liberal kind are "exhorted" to behave like homophobic morons. How chic.

As far as I am concerned, I am not about to "persecute" anyone; gay, Christian or otherwise. I simply am infuriated when morons of Daniel's breed attempt to mask their hatred and bigotry as a perfectly legitimate past time.

Homophobia Has No Place In Modern Society


Daniel's arguments, while well-written, doesn't really have any emphasis on the human dimension: He stresses on direct obedience to an archaic book written by folks who can't even tell the difference between a crime, such as pedophilia and a non-crime, such as blasphemy.

We can't allow these lunatics of the religious right to dictate secular law and start bashing us with their silly prejudices and archaic nonsense, unless of course we want to turn secular nations into wholly crazy, theocratic states more enamored with virgins and ten foot dicks in heaven than human welfare and rights.


-"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration--courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and, above all, love of the truth."

H.L. Mencken


Wednesday, 25 March 2009

When Praying for Miracles Becomes a Dangerous Game of Life and Death


From time to time, atheists are often reminded, often quite incessantly, about the benefits of prayer and why we atheists should not abandon religion wholesale. In addition, religious folks are quite quick to inform nonbelievers about the perceived frivolity of atheism, that if death comes a-knocking we atheists will start getting scared shitless and go to our kneels and beg for a whole bagful of miracles.

This kind of asinine arguments are quite baseless, especially since there isn't any god to answer your prayers to start with. But generally, prayers are harmless, the ones which border on little else but a bit of a intellectual masturbation: Prayer to win soccer matches, prayer to screw that hot brunette next door, and so on and so forth.

That said, not all prayers are harmless, and some of them can be essentially harmful and deadly, especially when it comes to emergency situations. For example, when the house is on fire, the last thing you want to do is go down on your knees and start praying to some imaginary sky deity who, if he exists, wouldn't have started a fire in the first place and then begin a game of dice to decide whether your body deserves to be barbecued to a fried crisp or save you later for midnight supper.

In a life-and-death situation, every second counts for something, sometimes everything: In the few seconds it takes for you to pray for your incompetent sky deity, a window of opportunity for escape may be lost for good. And if you think that your sky daddy can save your ass from a burning bush then woe to you, I will say.

In sum, prayer doesn't work, and if you'd face a emergency whereby you need to take urgent action to save someone else's life or yours, please, for fuck's sake, do not stop for a wing and a prayer!

Pilot who paused to pray in emergency gets 10 years

A Tunisian pilot who paused to pray instead of taking emergency measures before crash-landing his plane, killing 16 people, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail by an Italian court along with his co-pilot.

The 2005 crash at sea off Sicily left survivors swimming for their lives, some clinging to a piece of the fuselage that remained floating after the ATR turbo-prop aircraft splintered upon impact.

A fuel-gauge malfunction was partly to blame but prosecutors also said the pilot succumbed to panic, praying out loud instead of following emergency procedures and then opting to crash-land the plane instead trying to reach a nearby airport.

Another five employees of Tuninter, a subsidiary of Tunisair, were sentenced to between eight and nine years in jail by the court, in a verdict handed down yesterday.

The seven accused, who were not in court, will not spend time in jail until the appeals process has been exhausted.

Prayer Can Be Dangerous



"Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day; give him a religion, and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish."

Monday, 23 March 2009

Gay Bashing Inc: Singapore Christian Bashes Gays


In many Western countries, laws prohibiting anal sex between men (or even men with women) have been repealed, primarily because there is no legal basis for enforcing a religiously-slanted ruling on what is essentially consensual sex between two consenting adults in the privacy of their homes, and also because it is practically impossible to apply such Taliban-style laws against honest, law-abiding citizens in secular countries.

Unfortunately, Singapore, as an ex-British colony, still clings on to the vestiges of her colonial past: We inherited British law wholesale, and the anti-gay law which the old Elizabethan British laws enshrined (apparently the Brits no longer have such silly laws which require police to pry into the privacy of citizens' homes) are still held in high esteem by the Singapore courts.

Section 377A

Section 377A ("Outrages on decency") states that:

"Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years."

Unfortunately, an online appeal to repeal this obsolete law failed to materialize, primarily because there was another counter-campaign, dominated mainly by Christians, to support this dinosaur from the colonial age. To understand the rationale behind such unabashed support for what is essentially a law based on discrimination and bigotry, the best way is to read into what these Christians really have to say. And boy, is it shocking.

Allow me to introduce a Singaporean Christian, Daniel: He introduces himself as a "reformed Christian". According to Daniel's take on homosexuals, gays, it seems, are sinister plotters out to destroy the moral fabric of society, and they are apt to seize upon the gullible impressions of ordinary folks to morph us all into homosexuals. Sounds horrifying, but, like all things Christian, this is primarily a religiously-manufactured manure, as I shall attempt to debunk.

Below are some points which I would like to elucidate: Be warned, this is heinous stuff. My comments in black, Daniel in red.

Homosexual Bigots???

1. "We don't Hate Gays, We Just Hate the Gayness!!!"

"Let's put it this way. Homosexuals are not the problem. They are still humans and deserve to be treated as such. They are not second-class citizens to be ill-treated as a scapegoat, or to be used as anyone's punching bag. What we are against is homosexual
ITY, and the bigoted homosexual agenda. Bashing homosexuals for fun is wrong, although the homosexual activists sure do enjoy bashing us. But we are not to stoop to their depraved standard. Even if we can 'get away with it', anyone who bashes gays for sport is wrong. Homosexuals are to be treated with compassion, in the same manner as we should treat mentally ill people. They are to be pitied and helped to get out of their depraved state."

First and foremost, Daniel "enlightens" us with regards to his stance: He claims that he doesn't hate gays per se, but he hates the "gayness" of these gays. And like most homophobic idiots, he proceeds with the condescending tone of a master, as if he is talking to his inferior: Gays, to him and his fellow homophobs, are "mentally-ill", a subject of pity and derision.

Of course, the more enlightened folks amongst us will realize that general psychiatry no longer regards homosexuality with mental illness.

According to American Psychological Association:

"Since 1975, the American Psychological Association has called on psychologists to take the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with lesbian, gay, and bisexual orientations. "

Psychology, indeed, has moved on since the pre-Alan Turing years, when the ill-fated scientist was hounded and persecuted to the point when he had no other choice other than biting on a cyanide-laced apple. It would be ludicrous, of course, for our Christian brethren to be enamored with the lives of gays: What is one dead gay compared to the deaths of fertilized embryos???

2. The Gay Conspiracy???

"Homosexual activists of course are a different issue altogether. These people are the ones who create more homosexuals out of impressionable young minds, and who glory in their shame. These people are to be treated as criminals, in fact worse than criminals, for leading people astray. In the same way as those who brainwash people to commit suicide bombings are to be punished more severely than those who acually attempt to do so (since those who successfully did so are dead by then), homosexual activists are to be punished most severely for their wicked acts. Justice must be meted out against the perpetuators of this outrage. Since they are already sold out to the extent of desiring to corrupt others (Rom. 1:32), they are not to be treated with kids' gloves, otherwise we are telling others that it is ok to do the same thing. Yet, at the same time, we are to offer them a choice to repent of their sins, and forgiveness IF they sincerely do so."

Ah, the gay conspiracy theory. Like most conspiracy theories, such as the one on 911 being perpetuated by the White House, irrational people seize upon certain non-sequitor traits and piece together a fuzzy picture, and then proceed to sell their bullshit to the masses.

According to Daniel, gay advocates are miscreants with a hidden agenda: The real deal, it seems, is to convert everyone's sexual habits into a gay-oriented taste.

As a straight person, and one who has had numerous encounters and discussions with gays, one thing I have gleaned from them is this golden axiom: Straight people are no more liable to change their sexual orientations than gays.

While there is considerable debate with regards to the real reasons behind one's sexual tastes (Scientists have more or less determined that genes do have a considerable impact, while religious folks disagree), the unbridled truth is that most guys will be enamored with female breasts and others will become fixated with the prick of some male hunk next door. The idea that gays will plan and execute a gay agenda based on conversion is preposterous and childish: Such a campaign will face a head-long collision before it even takes off.

Like the anti-slavery campaigners that has preceded gay campaigners, gay advocates are not looking at enforcing a gay lifestyle on the general community. All they are asking for is to be treated equally, not to be treated like some slum-ghetto jerk or a lower caste of human beings destined to be trampled upon when it comes to living a normal, citizen's life. Homosexuals ask for the right to be treated fairly, the right to civil practices such as marriages, and the end of bigotry and intolerance towards gays. How is that for shoving "gayness" down the throats of every other boy, girl or child???

But Daniel doesn't stop here. He advocates that "justice be meted out against gay advocates". I wonder, if he is seriously clamoring for the death penalty to be meted out against these fornicating advocators! Or better still, whip their asses to a bloody pulp (I feel ashamed to say that our legal courts permit caning for certain crimes. It is kind of like the most medieval punishment you can ever imagine......)!!!

3. "Persecution Mode"

Like most Christian campaigns I have witnessed over the years, when Christians face opposition because of their support for outmoded, archaic, medieval beliefs, they will retreat into their shells, "persecution mode": It invokes sympathy for their religious cause, regardless whether their cause is legitimate and rational in the first place.

With regards to the gay issue, Daniel, like most right-wing nuts, follows this modus operandi, and executes it to perfection: Instead of being the bigoted and intolerant bastard, he suddenly morphs himself and those of his cause into docile, pliable (and perfectly delectable and tasty) sheep!!!!

"As for the pagan West, we would probably soon see the active persecution of faithful Christians in these once Christianized nations. Dr. James R. White has written a very good article whereby he shows this to be the case, and exhort us to prepare ourselves for it. Because we are Christ's, we will be hated by the world, and the world will persecute us (well, at least those who are faithful). In fact, shouldn't we have learned already that 'all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted' (2 Tim. 3:12)? While we still have the liberty to do so, let us therefore do the works of God, before we will be hunted down by the 'tolerant' and 'loving' secularists out there in their secular Inquisition."

Standard operating procedure from a very typical Christian. Lest one forgets, the original Inquisitions was inspired by the very guys who are accusing us secularists of plotting. Not very original, eh?

I always react with as much incredulity and skepticism as possible when Christians claim to be "persecuted" at every turn: With the exception of the Middle East, which prohibits apostasy from Islam and hence prohibits any Muslim from converting into Christianity, Christianity is pretty much revered, in fact I would add, given too much undue relevance to the point of grovelling. Pastors and their churches and "ministries" are given more financial shroud than secular businesses, since they don't pay taxes, and laws are in place in most secular countries that guarantees the right to freedom of speech and with it, the freedom to belief.

In fact, these Christians are given so much room and freedom that they are allowed to bash gays and other folks who are not aligned with their beliefs and not invoking the kind of vitriol that is incurred when a cartoonist draws a caricature of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban. What kind of a persecution picture are these folks painting exactly?

Gay Bashing, a-la Christian Style

It is quite painfully obvious to enlightened folks that Christians love to drum up massive support with the predictable aplomb one would expect when they do not have reason and apathy on their side. They utilize their special privileges in media, government and other political outlets to propagate their profound hatred and gift-wrap it in Christianity's clout so that it all seems so sanctified and pious.

But alas, we secular folks know that religious piety is bullshit, and when it is invoked to illicit public sympathy for an obnoxious cause, the bullshit can be detected from miles away.

Unfortunately, most Singaporeans are of the conservative variety, and they do buy into this "gays are evil" propaganda incited by religious folks like Daniel. Unless my countrymen can start waking up and smell the coffee I think we as a nation are no more than third world citizens living in a hollow first world country.

Gays and Lesbians: Just Your Ordinary Joe and Jane Next Door



"Gay and lesbian people fall in love. We settle down. We commit our lives to one another. We raise our children. We protect them. We try to be good citizens."
-California Sen. Sheila Kuehl

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Why Secular Humanism Works

Religious-Centred World Views: No Universal Suffrage Allowed?

One of my chief grouses with regards to morals and ethical codes is that, for some convoluted reason, religion has always owned an automatic pass and claim moral high ground, despite the fact that in many cases, religion should not be given sole autonomy in many social issues we face today.

Take free speech, for example. Advocates of free speech understand that free speech is a form of universal suffrage simply because it is free - no one should stop you from speaking your mind, regardless of whom you are criticizing. That also means other folks are also free to criticize you based on your comments, and so on and so forth. Unfortunately, religion makes it a point that you can criticize anyone, man, woman or gay, or any corporation, but not religion. Religion is taboo; it gets a "Get Out of Jail" card so much so that if a Pope lies that condoms will aggravate the AIDS pandemic in Africa, they get away with out nary a whimper from the media and generally escape public outrage because it is generally socially unacceptable to criticize the "infallibility" of the Pope! Draw some funny cartoons of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, and watch as mayhem and maelstrom breaks out in almost every Muslim-dominated city on the planet. If the pious Muslims have their way, pretty soon blasphemy will be officially deemed illegal under UN law. Say goodbye to your rights..........

Religious morality and concepts are conjured and manufactured not with the welfare of the average Joe on the street in mind: They are rigid, segmented forms of philosophy and in some cases, tyranny that enforces rules and regulations based on the sensitivities and whimsical behavior of imagined deities. As such, when Religion sets it store in society's consciousness, it cares little for the fates of the people it seeks to dominate: The Pope doesn't really give two hoots about the life of a pregnant 9-yr old child who is heavily pregnant with twins thanks to the monster of a stepfather who rapes her, neither does he give a shit about the rape. The Pope tells Catholics that abortion is wrong because a imagined sky deity mandates it.

Furthermore, religious-centre worldviews do not fuss over the lives of folks in this existence: They are more concerned with the afterlife: If you die, you are supposed to be judged by whichever deity that you pray to, and if you are deemed "virtuous" you might get to spend eternity in a utopia known as heaven. The opposite of which, an eternal abyss of suffering awaits.

Secular Humanism: Man's Welfare Comes First



Secular Humanism deals with how we, as homo sapiens, interact with our fellow human beings and the world around us: Rather than indulge in the business of satisfying the mojos of imagined deities (Most of which are designed as nothing more than bigots and mass murderers), secular humanism deals with rationalism, truth and the welfare of man.

From the Council of Secular Humanism:

Secular Humanism is a term which has come into use in the last thirty years to describe a world view with the following elements and principles:

  • A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighed and tested by each individual and not simply accepted on faith.
  • Commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, in seeking solutions to human problems and answers to important human questions.
  • A primary concern with fulfillment, growth, and creativity for both the individual and humankind in general.
  • A constant search for objective truth, with the understanding that new knowledge and experience constantly alter our imperfect perception of it.
  • A concern for this life and a commitment to making it meaningful through better understanding of ourselves, our history, our intellectual and artistic achievements, and the outlooks of those who differ from us.
  • A search for viable individual, social and political principles of ethical conduct, judging them on their ability to enhance human well-being and individual responsibility.
  • A conviction that with reason, an open marketplace of ideas, good will, and tolerance, progress can be made in building a better world for ourselves and our children.
Secular Humanism: Humanity Is for Man, Not Deities

While religious folks often lampoon criticisms at secular humanists because we lack a deity to account for in our lives, the problem with religion-centered worldviews is that using God as a platform to solve society's ills is the fastest way to fail.

From ill-fated bans on alcohol to the abstinence-only religious education classes, religion has failed to implement good, viable policies on our behalf because they are not designed with humans in mind in the first place.

After all, Gods do not live our lifes. We do.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Dialogue Between Sperm Cell A and Sperm Cell B

(Note: This is a very cheesy play lamenting on the final moments of two doomed sperm cells in their master's testicles. If you have a pro-life stance and do sincerely care about the dignity and sanctity of human cellular lifeforms, give this post a miss.)


"Swim, Sperm, Swim!!!"

All too often, religious folks love to equate genuine human life forms at a cellular level; fertilized embryos, instead of being simply cells with little or no significance, are deemed babies which demand the right and privilege to be accorded the same treatment as their adult counterparts.

Going along this train of thought, the following play will focus on the lives of two very ordinary sperm cells. Because sperm cells come at less than a dime a dozen, and for the purposes of identification, I shall dub both sperm cells with their assigned codes: SC-1 and SC-2. SC-1 and SC-2 are fast friends, having been manufactured in the testicles of the human host some 24 hours ago.

At this moment, the adult human host is engaging in an act of sexual play; sexual chemicals and signals have been sent to the testicles, hence priming the sperm cells ready for action. Millions of sperm cells are currently jostling for position in the human host's testicles, including SC-1 and SC-2.......

SC-1 (Excitedly): Holy shit, SC-2, the amazing race is about to begin!!! Aren't you excited, oh my good friend?

SC-2 (Struggling to free himself from the jostling competitors): Well, SC-1, I am so god-damned excited. In fact, I am so excited that I feel before I ever get a glimpse of that all-illuminating embryo, I'd be squashed and gutted with all my DNA spewed all over. Why can't they just make fertilization any easier for us????

SC-1 (Brushes aside nearby sperm cells easily): Well, SC-2, I did tell you to bulk up and work out, didn't I? Look at my tail..... (Thrashes his large, swanky tail).......so fine, so muscular, and my genes.....such fine, perfect genes....I am determined and very certain that I, and I alone, will fight these morons, fight them all, and earn the right to fuse with my beloved embryo and live on for eternity!

SC-2 (Laughs sarcastically): Somehow, our compatriots all share similar aspirations.......dare you bet against millions of us?

SC-1: The strong shall prevail, and I am the strongest of them all!!!!

SC-2: Good for you, SC-1. I sure love your confidence, but as for myself, I will stick with just staying alive for as long as possible, so forgive me for not sharing your eternal optimism. And if you do achieve your goal, try not to forget me, and the millions who have struggled and failed for the cause.......

SC-1: Yes, my brother, I will never forget you......look! The gates have opened!!!! Let's go!!!!

(Finally, the human host achieves orgasm; his prick is stiffened and hard as a steel rod, orgasm kicks in, and the semen, full of virile, swimming sperm cells numbering in the millions, thrash wildly and jostle against each other, vying for the one and only ray of hope that guarantees that only one of them will pass on their genes........

But alas, it is all but a sham. The human host is merely engaging in an act of self-play. The first sperm cells in the lead find no vagina, and worst, no embryo. What greets them is a piece of soft, white tissue, which the human host uses to dispose off the sticky fluid.

And SC-1, the leader of the pack, was the first to realize this. As he lays on the tissue paper, dazed and dying, he begins to think and dream about the what ifs....if only he was part of the ejaculation team 72 hours earlier, if only he was born earlier......ifs.......so many ifs.

But alas. This spells the end of SC-1 and SC-2, along with the millions of compatriots who will join them in an unceremonious and ignominious death.)

THE END

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Against the Death Penalty


Amongst the worst kinds of punishments meted out against prisoners since antiquity, the death penalty, or capital punishment, is perhaps singularly the most barbaric form of punishment; it deprives the condemned individual of life, and in many countries which still exercises this arcane punishment, the death penalty is sometimes justified by judicial systems to punish criminals of violent crimes.

EXECUTION METHODS

There are a number of ways whereby a death row inmate can be put to sleep: Electrocution used to be practiced in many states in the US, but due to its sometimes messy nature (in blotched killings, parts of the face, or even eyeballs, can melt off due to the high voltage induced in the inmate's body.....yikes) , it is not a very popular execution method. Other more commonly used methods include death by firing squad (Communist China), hanging (Singapore) and lethal injection.

The Guillotine: A Fast and Efficient Way to Severe a Head from its Body (Shivers)

Go way back to the 17th and 18th century, and there is the guillotine (Named after Dr Guillotine), a crude device used to lob off the heads of condemned individuals. It was very popular during the French Revolution, and as a decapitation device it was thought to bring very little pain to the condemned. And who can forget those funky Romans, who would try condemned criminals in the circuses with the lions smacking their lips in sheer delight.


ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY

Quite inevitably, proponents of the death penalty have put up credible arguments to defend this age-old punishment.

Most would agree, however, that the death penalty be restricted to violent crimes, mostly pertaining to murder where the crime is severe and the loss irretrievable, or crimes pertaining to treason.

A summary of pro-death penalty arguments, followed by counter-arguments, as follows:

1. "An Eye for An Eye"

For:

Certain criminals who have committed irreversible crimes, such as rape and murder, ought to be executed by the state. The logic, it seems, stem from the biblical quote of "an eye for an eye". This, in the eyes of death penalty proponents, will discourage and deter would-be offenders from committing acts of murder.

Against:

The purpose and logic of secular law is not to facilitate a tit-for-tat; a-la mafia style executions, against criminals. The purpose of punishment is to rehabilitate the criminal, not to send them to an early grave.

To punish a crime with another crime, in the form of state execution, just cannot be justified, even if they seem to "even the odds", according to pro-death penalty supporters. It is the basest and most archaic of reasoning; two wrongs don't make a right.

Besides, the death penalty cannot deter crimes of passion; if a would-be killer is hell-bent on murdering someone based on pure, unadulterated hatred, the last thing that will hinder his deviant plans is the death penalty.

2. Eliminating Society's Evil

For:

Extreme criminals, such as serial killers, are a real menace to society, and ought to be gotten rid of for good.

Those who have not shown signs of remorse, and have blatantly and constantly flouted the law to commit heinous crimes should be executed.

Against:

The problem with this kind of argument is that, the death penalty, unlike imprisonment, is an irreversible act: Once you execute a prisoner, he or she cannot be reanimated back to life.

Hence, to determine who or who should not be executed is something that becomes a really dicey affair, since the legal system, with its judicial process and jurors and prosecution officers, have to determine accurately as to whether the accused is guilty of his crimes. Any mistakes incurred during the judicial process may lead to the execution of an innocent man or woman.

The judicial system in every country is not perfect: A prosecutor hell-bent on winning a case may, for example, suppress evidence in favor of the accused. Or the witness in the witness stand may be lying, or better yet, a mistaken identity because of circumstances that may have led to the witness mistaking the accused for a crime he or she does not commit. In sum, things can go awfully wrong, and while incarceration in prisons does allow the accused time to acquit himself, a death sentence may mean that the accused in question may very well have a short time frame to exonerate himself from a crime he or she may not have committed.

3. COST-SAVING

For:

Spending millions, or billions (depending on where you live) of taxpayer's money to feed and maintain crooks isn't a long term solution. We need to cull some of them so as to keep the country's fiscal year at an absolute minimum.

Against:

Criminals are not cows, chickens or poultry. Prisons and other reformatory services must understand their role as counseling and rehabilitation institutions, not abattoirs to butcher and kill criminals.

There surely are better methods of keeping fiscal costs at a minimum: Feed inmates cheaper food, for example. This is not even a valid reason for the death penalty.

FUNDAMENTAL FLAW OF DEATH PENALTY: A WRONGFUL JUDGEMENT MAY LEAD TO IRREVERSIBLE TRAGEDY

While it is a point of contention for both sides of the death penalty debate as to whether certain criminal acts deserve the retribution of death, one thing is for sure: A wronged execution can never be reversed.

Unlike any other sentence, say, a life sentence, the accused, if wrongfully accused for a crime he or she has not committed, still has enough time in his hands to make as many appeals as he can, while a man on death parole has a limited time to make his case, before he is summarily executed. In countries such as China, there may be no grounds of appeal provided by the courts.

An example of a wrongful judgment that very nearly caused the death of an innocent man:

DNA Testing Exonerates New York Man Who Might Have Been Executed

After spending more than a decade in jail for a crime he did not commit, Douglas Arthur Warney has been exonerated and will be freed from prison in New York based on DNA evidence. Police maintained that Warney had confessed to the crime. Warney is a poorly educated man with a history of delusions and suffering from an advanced case of AIDS. He originally faced the death penalty for the 1996 stabbing murder in Rochester, but was ultimately convicted of second-degree homicide and sentenced to 25 years in jail. Prosecutors tried to block recent DNA tests that revealed that blood found at the crime scene could not have come from Warney. The test concluded that the blood belonged to another man, Eldred L. Johnson, Jr., who has since confessed to being the sole killer in the crime and is in prison for a different killing and three other stabbings.

Though no forensic evidence linked Warney to the crime, prosecutors used his false confession - which defense attorneys say was based on facts fed to him by a homicide detective - to overcome weaknesses in the case. During Warney's trial, prosecutors said that blood found at the crime that did not match the victim or Warney could have belonged to an accomplice, but that Warney was the killer based on his detailed confession. Despite providing details regarding the crime, Warney's confession was also filled with inconsistencies. According to trial testimony, Mr. Warney told the detective he had driven to the victim's house in his brother's car, although the brother had not owned the car for six years before the murder; he said he disposed of his bloody clothes after the murder in a garbage can, but none were found in a search of the can, which had been buried in snow from the day of the crime; he also said he had an accomplice, naming a relative who, it turned out, was in a secure rehabilitation center.

Warney joins a long list of people who have falsely confessed to crimes they did not commit. "The cops created a false confession by feeding nonpublic details to Doug. Their conduct was criminal, plain and simple," notes Peter Neufeld of the Innocence Project, one of the attorneys representing Warney. Based on the results of DNA testing and Johnson's confession to the crime, prosecutors have agreed that the charges against Warney, who is now in a wheelchair, should be dismissed. (New York Times, May 16, 2006)

Along with Warney, 123 Americans have had their death sentences revoked.

To throw the gauntlet at pro-death advocates: How do you justify the execution of just one innocent man, in the face of perhaps the deaths of numerous criminals who "deserve" their state-sanctioned deaths?

No one wants to put an innocent person in jail, much less execute one. In order to err on the safe side, the law must justify its rulings with humane, reversible punishments. An eye for an eye is simply not a good reason to execute someone.

OTHER FACTS:

1. At least 3,797 people were executed in 25 countries in 2004, according to a report released today by Amnesty International.

2. China easily operates the most stringent capital punishment regime, with an estimated 3,400 executions.

3. Iran executed at least 159, Vietnam at least 64, and 59 prisoners were put to death in the US.

4. Singapore has the highest number of executions per capita (Approx. 70 in a population of 4 million).^ (From: Amnesty International." The death penalty: A hidden toll of executions)

No Perfect Judicial System


-Since I was a law student, I have been against the death penalty. It does not deter. It is severely discriminatory against minorities, especially since they’re given no competent legal counsel defense in many cases. It’s a system that has to be perfect. You cannot execute one innocent person. No system is perfect. And to top it off, for those of you who are interested in the economics it, it costs more to pursue a capital case toward execution than it does to have full life imprisonment without parole.

RALPH NADER, Meet the Press interview, Jun. 25, 2000

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Three Cheers for Obama Again: Reinstating Stem Cell Research Without the Handcuffs



"Look! Its a Baby!!!!"

Pro-life: A cheesy colloquial term hogged by religious folks who clamor for the humane treatment of "unborn" babies, or in this case, fertilized embryos, plus a whole lot of emotional package to go along with it.

Curiously, most of us, it seems, will want to be "pro-life" in the practical sense of the word: No one wants to be caught dead slapping a monkey, or killing a pet rabbit, well, I mean, as long as the stomach isn't growling all that much, and we don't really need to feed extended families who incidentally also have growling stomachs just like ours.

Yup, pro-life and pro-choice are two synonymous words dealing with compassion. While it is true that many of us still consider poultry and livestock farming ethical ( We still love our bacon!), nonetheless humans are apt to be pro-life and pro-choice when it comes to sentient human beings, and sometimes, this crazy obsession with human life goes way beyond the pale.

Stem Cell Research
: A Baby-Killing Enterprise????

Misplaced Priorities.........

For the past eight years, stem cell research has languished in the United States, thanks in no small part to the Bush Administration's stupid and inept curbs on federal tax funding for stem cell research, particularly for research that deals with "unborn babies", i.e fertilized human embryos which have been artificially inseminated for the purposes of research.

While the Bush Administration did reserve special treatment for embryos, I do wonder, however, if Bush himself ever reserved such sentiments for adult humans, such as, say, the folks he regularly tortured in Guantanamo and other CIA facilities set up for just such a nefarious purpose??? Or the American soldiers who had been consigned to fight in a seemingly never-ending war in Iraqi?

These embryos, which are hardly visible unless they are viewed under the microscope, are highly regarded as potential homo sapiens based on one incredulous single notion that life begins at conception: The unbridled truth is that if we need to take the ethics of human life to the extremities of singular cellular organisms then one could also surmise that the process of masturbation kills of millions of potential babies in the form of sperm cells! Well, going by such astronomical figures, if a male stud jerks off, on average, 5 times a week, that number could very well amount to billions of murders in a single fucking year.! Heck, he'd be a worst mass murderer than all the tyrants that have ever existed (assuming, of course, these tyrants never masturbate!). And damn the women too, for shedding off their eggs once a month! Bloody murder is on the cards!

And thank goodness, then, that President Obama has the good sense and initiative to overturn these silly, presumptuous curbs on stem cell research, and as usual, the religious rights groups are howling and moaning about murder and infanticide. Jebus Fucking Christ!

Obama Overturns Bush Policy On Stem Cells

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Obama signed an executive order Monday repealing a Bush-era policy that limited federal tax dollars for embryonic stem cell research.

Obama's move overturns an order signed by President Bush in 2001 that barred the National Institutes of Health from funding research on embryonic stem cells beyond using 60 cell lines that existed at that time.

Obama also signed a presidential memorandum establishing greater independence for federal science policies and programs.

"In recent years, when it comes to stem cell research, rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values," Obama said at the White House.

"In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent. As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research -- and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly."


Researchers highly value embryonic stem cells because of their potential to turn into any organ or tissue cell in the body. Stem cells have this ability for a short time.
A few days before the embryo would implant in the uterus, it starts to develop into specific cells that will turn into skin or eyes or other parts of a developing fetus.

Conservative leaders echoed Bush's rationale in their criticism of Obama's decision.

"Advancements in science and research have moved faster than the debates among politicians in Washington, D.C., and breakthroughs announced in recent years confirm the full potential of stem cell research can be realized without the destruction of living human embryos," House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Sunday.

Embryonic Stem Cell Research Minus Religious Regulations

Because of their ability to regenerate into organs, embryonic stem cells have a very good potential for development and treatment of many debilitating diseases, and obviously more work is required to realize its full potential.

With the Bush-era laws out of the way, albeit for perhaps a brief couple of years, scientists can finally carry on with their jobs without the nosey religious morons poking their noses into the scientific realm, where they obviously do not belong.

Furthermore, it is very unethical and downright cruel to ignore the plight of millions of folks who are stricken by some form of genetic disease, such as Alzheimer's and muscular atrophy. These folks are wasting away because medical science currently does not have the ability to eliminate these horrendous diseases. Their fates and their pain are very, very real, and if you think that the imagined plight of cellular embryos should take precedence over the pain of full-fledged adults then you need to take a trip down to a hospice which takes care of these patients (I have seen it first-hand, and believe me, it will rip your heart out, albeit not literally) and witness the suffering for yourself, firsthand.

After all, fertilized embryos are no more human babies than an omelet is a chicken drumstick, even if they are both equally palatable and delicious.

Stem Cell Research: A Beacon of Hope Against Genetic Diseases



-"These new rules will now make it possible for scientists to move forward. Countless people, suffering from many different diseases, stand to benefit from the answers stem cell research can provide. We owe it to ourselves and to our children to do everything in our power to find cures for these diseases."

Former First Lady, Nancy Reagan, Who Lost Her Husband, President Ronald Reagan, To Alzheimer's Disease

Monday, 9 March 2009

No Abortion For 9-Yr Old Victim - But The Pope Welcomes Holocaust Denier!

Abortion is usually a very contentious issue, especially for the fervent religious rights groups who think, rather illogically of course, that a fertilized embryo or a fetus is the moral equivalent of a full-fledged human being, completely endowed with rights pertaining usually to real adults and children.

This lunar lunacy to alleviate the status of fetuses gets worst when the fetus itself is deemed more valuable to the religious lunatics than the lives of women: According to the Vatican, women are not supposed to have abortions even if their very lives are threatened by their pregnancies.

& it gets worst: The doctors and the mother who helped a 9 yr old girl to abort were actually excommunicated for what is perceived to be an act of murder!!!!

Read on and puke:

Vatican Backs Abortion Row Bishop


A senior Vatican cleric has defended the excommunication in Brazil of the mother and doctors of a young girl who had an abortion with their help.

The nine-year-old had conceived twins after alleged abuse by her stepfather.

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re told Italian paper La Stampa that the twins "had the right to live" and attacks on Brazil's Catholic Church were unfair.

It comes a day after Brazil's president criticised the Brazilian archbishop who excommunicated the people involved.

Brazil only permits abortions in cases of rape or health risks to the mother.

Doctors said the girl's case met both these conditions, but the Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho said the law of God was above any human law.

He said the excommunication would apply to the child's mother and the doctors, but not to the girl because of her age.

'Sad case'

Cardinal Re, who heads the Roman Catholic Church's Congregation for Bishops and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, told La Stampa that the archbishop had been right to excommunicate the mother and doctors.

"It is a sad case but the real problem is that the twins conceived were two innocent persons, who had the right to live and could not be eliminated," he said.

"Life must always be protected, the attack on the Brazilian Church is unjustified."

The abortion was carried out on Wednesday.

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, himself a Catholic, said on Friday that he regretted what he described as the cleric's deeply conservative attitude.

"The doctors did what had to be done: save the life of a girl of nine years old," he said.

The girl, who lives in the north-eastern state of Pernambuco, was allegedly sexually assaulted over a number of years by her stepfather, possibly since she was six.

Breathtaking Stupidity & Misogyny

The Vatican's stand in this case can only be classified as a dash of stupidity coupled with a whole lot of misogyny: A raped child being forced to bear twins when she's barely 9 is so cruel and horrifying that I can't even fathom why the church is actually punishing the doctors for assisting in the abortion!!!!!

Clearly, this is a case of misplaced priorities: The life of a child is deemed less valuable than the twins she harbors. And why didn't the erstwhile priest condemn the actions of the rapist? Maybe it is because the fucking catholic priests are committing similar, insidious crimes on altar boys??? If that is true, congratulations I say. Fucking altar boys doesn't make them pregnant.

Whenever I read stories of such breath-taking inanity, I am bound to let loose a stream of vulgarities and blasphemy at the Catholic Church: Those old fucks in the Vatican have their brains screwed up so badly, they can't tell the difference between fetuses and adult humans anymore. But there again......they never could in the first place.

Thank goodness then that we don't live in the Dark Ages; otherwise, the good doctors and the brave mother would have suffered a whole lot worst than a mere excommunication. And if I were the doctor I'd say good riddance to the Vatican.


Holocaust Deniers Welcomed by the Church

While the Vatican is trigger happy when it comes to administering excommunications to abortion doctors, they are quite happy to welcome Holocaust Deniers back to the fold!!!!



Pope Outrages Jews Over Holocaust Denier

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Jewish officials in Israel and abroad are outraged that Pope Benedict XVI has decided to lift the excommunication of a British bishop who denies that Jews were killed in Nazi gas chambers.

The pope's decree, issued Saturday, brings back into the Catholic Church's fold Bishop Richard Williamson and three other bishops who belong to the Society of Saint Pius X.

The liaison for Vatican-Jewish relations -- Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity -- said he was not consulted.

"It was a pope decision" he told CNN in a phone interview. "I have my opinions about it, but I do not wish to comment on a decision made by the pope."

The Society of Saint Pius X was founded by Archbishop Lefebrve, who rebelled against the Vatican's modernizing reforms in the 1960s, and who consecrated the men in unsanctioned ceremonies. As a result, Pope John Paul II excommunicated the four in 1988.

Within the Catholic Church, many Vatican analysts suggests that in an attempt to heal one rift with ultra-conservative church members, the pope is risking creating a wider gap with those more liberal groups that have fully embraced the changes and reforms.

The church's decision to lift the excommunication comes a few days after a Swedish television aired an interview with Williamson in which the 68-year-old claimed the Nazis did not use gas chambers.

"I believe that the historical evidence is strongly against -- is hugely against -- 6 million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler," he said in the interview, which appeared on various Web sites since its broadcast.

"I believe there were no gas chambers," he added.

He added: "I think that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, but none of them by gas chambers."

It seems to me that not only is the Church misogynistic, it is hell bent on being antisemitic as well.

Sure........no Jews were ever gassed. They were shipped off to utopia lands to enjoy themselves in absolute bliss........what concentration camps??? Hitler shipped them all off to holiday camps instead!!!!


Catholic Church: Purveyors of Bullshit


I would like to take this opportunity to encourage Catholics to be excommunicated. The Vatican, being a self-professed bastion of morals, clearly is a faulty moral compass. They have no inane sense of moral values, and are apt to support people who are purveyors of lies, myths and all manner of bullshit.

If you want to be a good person, the last place you will need to go to is a Catholic Church, especially so if you have to be the altar boy.


A Disease of The Mind


-"I do think the Roman Catholic religion is a disease of the mind which has a particular epidemiology similar to that of a virus... Religion is a terrific meme. That's right. But that doesn't make it true and I care about what's true. Smallpox virus is a terrific virus. It does its job magnificently well. That doesn't mean that it's a good thing. It doesn't mean that I don't want to see it stamped out."

-Richard Dawkins (Interviewed in: Sceptic vol 3, no 4, 1995)