Hitch is Gone, but the Joke is Still on Religion

I know that this may be too late, but I feel I need to write this tribute to Christopher Hitchens, whom I adored for his courage and brutal honesty. But, this being late may not actually be in vein. In recent days I’ve seen a lot of videos regarding Hitchens’ death, as I also saw a trend of twitter become filled with comments about him, many of them were from Christians and those who disliked him.

People like Rick Warren, one important enemy of reason and Homophobe, tweeted: “My friend Christopher Hitchens has died, I loved & prayed for him constantly & grieve his loss. He knows the Truth now.” There were other numerous videos on his death, people who were actually happy, but saying: “We should love him.” Or, “It’s by God’s grace that I am not feeling happy now.”

Quite an interesting dilemma: In the context of Christianity for most Christians, or many other religions and their followers, it is considered bad, or “immoral”, to feel happy for someone’s death (no matter who). Now, how ironically self refuting that is, that the same religion creates a sense of happiness in its followers for the death of its “enemies”. So, you “should not” be happy, but you “should” be happy. Or, maybe you “should not” be happy, but you cannot not be happy.

It was a huge fun to watch these religious people struggle with this dilemma, when they actually were happy, but they new they should not have been, because their religion said so! But Either way, the joke is on religion.

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I never drink, nor do I smoke; But, I salute your memory Mr. Hitchens, may it be remembered in history of our intellectual struggle against religion.

 

The Doctrine of Perfect Dictatorship: How to Rule with an Iron Fist, or be Doomed Trying

The questions about revolution, of how and why it happens; have been on my mind constantly, on different periods of my life. And of course, recently, with all that has happened everywhere, they have become a much stronger voice in my mind (along with that other voice in the back of my head that keeps saying “You’re hot!” to my housemate, whenever he come out of his room shirtless, which is very often!*).

Now, I thought about writing this post a lot. It took forever to write it, since my analogy seemed confusing to even me: Too many variables. As a matter of fact, I wrote a post almost a month ago, and then tore it (in a digital sense), and started writing this just on 12th of December.

Since I believe revolution is a product of a lot of things, I decided to act like I am writing a recipe for a not so much tasty food. Actually, this would taste like blood, and smells like death.

Ingredients:

  • One weak minded dictator,
  • Ideological dictatorship,
  • One none-democratic system of governance,
  • One military force not under complete control of the dictator,
  • One economic crisis (Preferably with unemployment),
  • Cities, with the ability of generating crowds of people,

Now, the above “ingredients” seem trivial, and they are. Of course whoever reads history knows that for example Tsar Nicholas II, Louis XVI, Shah of Iran, Mubarak, etc. were weak dictators; nor anybody doubts this as a fact that most revolutions happened while there was an economic crisis going on.

The ingredients are important, as later on we will try to develop an explanation for why they end up in a blood bath. But first we need to try and define what is a revolution? If the political regime of a country is overthrown by masses (big crowds) of people, and a completely new regime has taken its place, a revolution has happened. In here we see that a revolution differs from a coup d’état, which is when a regime is overthrown without the masses of people having anything to do with it.

Now we come to the important question: How do revolutions happen?

I believe it to be a game of power between people and the dictator, that unfortunately is in a form of a very bloody vicious circle. The dictatorship in a normal mode is in a sense in “equilibrium”. That is, people know there is dictatorship, and feel it both in bureaucratic system of governance and specially the ideological dictatorship (dictator’s belief is law, and others cannot object). But at the time there are equal forces on each side: A military force that backs the dictator, and a secret police force that can handle the opposition (as individuals).

Then something happens that break the equilibrium: Most likely an economical crisis of the recession sort, with unemployment. There would be a certain percentage of dissatisfied crowd of people, that becomes the core of the bigger revolutionary mass. It is a crowds tendency to grow, and this growth will continue much more rapidly with the incentive of the existence of such core. That unemployed crowd is like a Catalysis for this process, and as the recession continues, this core becomes more and more persistent.

A weak dictator at this point will use brute force and violence to silence people. But this answer will only add to the peoples incentive to gather more, to organise strikes, and to chose more violent methods of their own. Also, people individually are different from each other, but as a part of a crowd, their opposition with the ideological dictatorship becomes their slogan, and under that slogan they will gather, and chose leaders.

The process will go on, as a brutal game of life and death, with the dictator using more force, and people gathering in bigger masses and becoming more hysteric. This continues, until the military forces start joining the people, which triggers the final stage of the battle, that usually ends up with the execution of the dictator, if he (or maybe she) is caught of course.

The results of such analogy are as follows:

  1. I’m afraid that revolutions are somehow inevitable. Such combination will most likely end in a bloody battle, and the more unfortunate thing is, after the revolution things will most likely be much worse: Look at Iran, Russia, France. The exception is Romania and other USSR “satellite” countries. Also the results of recent Middle Eastern revolutions are to be seen.
  2. If a dictator wants to stop a revolution from happening, there are two ways: One is, in the beginning he (or she) should come down from power, or at least avoid using brute force. This seems unlikely since as said our dictator is a weak minded one, and using brute force is what they may not be able to avoid.
    The other way is quite the reverse: Make your dictatorship a complete totalitarianism. Shut down every social media, every communication that the people (masses) can have, in order to stop them from gathering. This is hard and frankly impossible without a huge bureaucratic system of governance. But if the dictator can make it happen (like Stalin or Hitler did), no revolution can ever begin.
    So, overall, the dictatorship should either be as soft as a democracy, or as hard as the totalitarianism to survive a revolution.

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* He is hot, and straight!

Introductory Logic (Appealing to Traditions)

I had a previous post on the subject of gay marriage, and I mentioned appealing to traditions as one of the usual fallacies used to back up discriminative claims against gay marriage. The incentive behind writing that post was the Christian blogger, Rod Benson (who is apparently a Baptist minister according to his about page). He had a post about the subject at the time, and since he erased my comment (a harsh one nonetheless!) I wrote my post on self humiliation.

The good thing about extremist religious people is that they never learn. In a more recent post, he has continued with the same nonsense. Two paragraphs of this recent post has  actually turned out to be the perfect textbook case of appealing to traditions:

“No religious tradition can claim ownership of the institution of marriage. It’s neither Christian nor pagan. What we have in Australian federal law today is a definition of marriage that accurately represents the foundational beliefs and values inherent in the biblical teaching on Christian marriage, as well as thousands of years of cultural wisdom from a wide range of communities.

Marriage thus defined serves the common good, and provides a proper foundation for security and stability in national social and economic life.  This is why an overwhelming majority of churches supports the current definition of marriage in Australian law, and opposes the reform proposed by The Australian Greens. ”

According to that, the current definition of marriage “provides a proper foundation for security and stability in national social and economic life” because many of the cultures in the world have had it for thousands of years! Well, since unjustified discrimination against a minority is wrong, all these cultures are wrong, and that includes Christian culture as well. By no means this kind of fallacious argument can stand for the discrimination against gay couples in taking away their rights to want to be recognized as a couple: A married couple.

Besides, there have been many things that these cultures have had, and many of them still do, including: slavery, honour killings, child marriage, genital mutilation of both men and women, and many other horrible things.

Are these things wise? No. Acceptable? No. By any means justified? NO!

There you have it: The perfect textbook example of appealing to traditions.

Introductory Logic (Appealing to Consequences)

I believe watching “Expelled: No intelligence allowed” could probably be fun, although I’ve never watched it! As far as the trailer shows, and as far as what can be read in reviews (such as in Scientific America) it shows such a disgraceful dishonesty in presenting science and evolution that we should call it a fun fictional movie instead of a documentary!

But aside  from such sack of lies and propaganda, there is a huge flaw in the argument presented by the movie: “Evolution is wrong (and cannot be accepted), because it leads to Fascism.”

Of course it does not, but for the sake of this post, let’s assume that it does. Fascism is obviously very wrong, but interestingly enough, even if evolution “does” lead to Fascism, no one can possibly suggest that it is wrong based on that assumption. This is what is called “Appealing to consequences” or “argumentum ad consequentiam”, and in this case comes from the fact that scientists did not derive the theory of evolution from Fascism, nor did Darwin himself, but they conducted probably thousands of scientific experiments in order to verify (or falsify) evolution.

If anyone wants to challenge evolution, he/she should either conduct a scientific experiment that can falsify evolution, or reject the scientific method entirely. This movie does neither, therefore it’s attack on evolution is the perfect textbook case of appealing to consequences, and can be used as a good example in teaching of fallacies.

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But no. There is actually another perfect example of such fallacy done by the infamous “Bananaman” (Ray Comfort), when he published a “modified” version of Darwin’s “The Origin Of Species”. He wrote an introduction on the book, full of his usual stupidity and ignorance, and our example is from there:

“In promoting the idea that humans were merely animals and accidents of nature, the natural consequence of Darwinism was to overturn the traditional Judeo-Christian values on the sacredness of human life. The legacy of Darwin’s theory can be seen in the rise of eugenics, euthanasia, racism, infanticide, and abortion.”

Well, even better: This guy goes exactly by the textbook case of the fallacy, trying to discredit the first statement (which is an ad hominem by the way) by asserting what he thinks are its undesirable immediate consequences.

The only people able to present this kind of childish sheer ignorance, even on the most basic level of thinking, are fundamentalist zealots like Ray Comfort or Ben Stein.