Pharyngula

One of the most annoying features of South Park is the creators’ hypocrisy. They’re so infatuated with tearing down that they never bother to build up. Trey Parker has an odd comment in an interview:

“All the religions are super funny to me,” Parker said. “The story of Jesus makes no sense to me. God sent his only son. Why could God only have one son and why would he have to die? It’s just bad writing, really. And it’s really terrible in about the second act.”

But Parker says atheism is more ludicrous to him than anything else.

“Out of all the ridiculous religion stories — which are greatly, wonderfully ridiculous — the silliest one I’ve ever heard is, ‘Yeah, there’s this big, giant universe and it’s expanding and it’s all going to collapse on itself and we’re all just here, just ‘cuz. Just ‘cuz. That to me, is the most ridiculous explanation ever,” he says.

Nah, he doesn’t even get the physics right. We’re here; we have the observations and measurements and experiments to show how we got here; it just is, no because about it.

But here’s the cowardly part of his statement: he implies he’s not a Christian, he implies he’s not an atheist — neither of which are particularly interesting comments — but nowhere does he say where he thinks we came from. You know why, and he knows why: he’s made a profession out of tearing down and ridiculing ideas (no problem there, it’s often a good thing to do), and he is well aware that if he actually gave even tentative support to some idea, not only would others reciprocate and rip into it with ridicule, but he’d be expected to do a show where he laughs at it himself. Of course, it may well be that he accepts the physical explanation of the universe — or even the Christian story, for that matter — but still thinks it is ridiculous because that is his only response to everything.

I think his show is often funny, and it does sometimes do a good job of satirizing even stuff I like (and often does a bad job, but heck, 95% of everything is crap), but the depressing pattern it constantly exhibits is that it is so damned hollow.

Oh, and I think the recent Mohammed episode falls into the 95%, and I really don’t believe their claim that the network forced them to censor it — I find it hard to believe anything they say, and think it’s just Parker and Stone gaming their audience some more. Just ‘cuz that’s what they do.

Comments

  1. #1 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 24, 2010

    Jon Stewart was linked for his take on it on the last Thread.

    Far more entertaining.

  2. #2 cgranade
    April 24, 2010

    I think you just summed up the reasons I don’t watch the show at all these days. That cowardly answer completely sidesteps that the big difference between science and religion is that nagging little thing called evidence.

    I can’t stand the kind of reductionism and false equivocation that leads to claiming that atheism is just as ridiculous as religion, because some things that seem bizarre to our intuitions (which have evolved to deal with environments within a narrow subset of what the laws of physics allow for). Would he also say that the equivalence principle is ridiculous, since obviously light can’t be bent? Our intuitions do a poor job of telling us what’s true and what isn’t (though one can train their intuition to be better at this), and so we must rely on evidence.

  3. #3 J Dubb
    April 24, 2010

    This is the equivalent of “Fuckin’ magnets, it’s all miracles!”

  4. #4 Somite
    April 24, 2010

    Many celebrities are merely contrarians and couldn’t be less interested in reality. By chance they happen to be contrarian about something we agree on every once in a while.

    I’d include in this list Bill Maher and Penn and Teller.

    On an unrelated note they frequently happen to be libertarian.

  5. #5 Stardrake
    April 24, 2010

    I think it comes down to a basic idea that (Cartman) “RULES ARE FOR PUSSIES!” (/Cartman)

    Since an atheist usually acknowledges natural laws, which prohibit some things that are KEWL, it’s just as bad as anything else that gets in the way of what THEY want!

    Anything else destroys the pureness of the nihilism upon which they depend.

  6. #6 aratina cage
    April 24, 2010

    No they did not evade a positive answer:

    Stone, who was raised Jewish, says he’s not religious. Parker says he considers himself religious, but it would take him a long time to explain it. Both say they believe in God.

    “I believe there’s something going on that we don’t know,” Parker says. “That’s as far as I can go.”

    “Recently, atheists and people who hate religion have, like, really glommed on to our show because we make fun of a lot of religions,” Stone notes. “But neither one of us is anti-religious at all. I mean, I’m fascinated by religion.” (source)

    They are both theists or probably more likely deists, one is religious and one isn’t.

  7. #7 Mr T
    April 24, 2010

    Parker:

    Yeah, there’s this big, giant universe and it’s expanding and it’s all going to collapse on itself and we’re all just here, just ‘cuz. Just ‘cuz. That to me, is the most ridiculous explanation ever

    It’s the most ridiculous because… why? Just ‘cuz? Oh, Goddidit. I see. Sure. Thanks for the “explanation”, dumbass.

    PZ:

    (and often does a bad job, but heck, 95% of everything is crap)

    Is this a subtle hint that you’ve learned your lesson on art philosophy, PZ?

    Don’t forget that Everything is Terrible! (that’s probably safe for work, but not for your sanity)

  8. #8 AustinAcid
    April 24, 2010

    (Lurker mode(off))

    Hmm… i’m not sure but i think Trey Parker is Jewish, it might have something to with why hes not for Jesus or physics.

  9. #9 JackC
    April 24, 2010

    As I drive a Prius, a friend was reluctant to show me the Smug episode for fear of me – somehow – getting upset by it.

    I laughed nearly all the way through – and have even watched it again. No Kings (Apologies, Robert)

    I do not, however, enjoy watching SP and generally don’t. Smug was reasonably good though. Even with the Pious.

    JC

  10. #10 AustinAcid
    April 24, 2010

    wow first post and already i fucked up, fantastic!

    its supposed to read, something to (do) with etc.

  11. #11 Ruzhyo2000
    April 24, 2010

    Trey Parker is a somewhat reasoning form of Lovecraft’s dog. He is reasonable enough to see how organized religion is ridiculous and makes little sense, but he still desires and needs a sense of metaphysical purpose so much, he reflects this into his reasoning, making this reasoning flawed.

    Not only does he need and desire some sort of metaphysical purpose in life, but he believes this desire is strong enough to warrant the belief that their being some kind of purpose is the only reasonable conclusion. He won’t realize the flaw in his logic, because this desire, and ultimately fear, has overcome his capacity to judge the issue in a reasonable manner.

    I would like a purpose in life and reason for existence also, but just because I want these things doesn’t mean I simply must be granted one beyond what I make for myself.

  12. #12 frankthomasarmstrong
    April 24, 2010

    “Half the people in the world think that the metaphors of their religious traditions, for example, are facts. And the other half contends that they are not facts at all. As a result we have people who consider themselves believers because they accept metaphors as facts, and we have others who classify themselves as atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies.”
    ? Joseph Campbell (Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor)

    Perhaps a cross that rational thinkers might bear is the additional job of understanding the irrational without the personal, subjective skewing that results from animus or agenda. World religions were born of world myths, and myths were born of man and woman–the stories tell us about ourselves. Viewed literally they are cartoons. Viewed metaphorically they are keys to the mystery of ourselves.

    Just my opinion…

    ++++

  13. #13 Murray
    April 24, 2010

    Wow, did I wake up in 2006? That quote is several years old.

    Trey’s position is basically deist. Yes, it’s still a cop-out because it’s not supported by evidence, but I don’t think he is as vague as you say.

    And besides, in principle I think it’s fine to point out which answers you think are wrong without being sure which one is right.

  14. #14 Ruzhyo2000
    April 24, 2010

    @ #8:AustinAcid

    Matt Stone is the Jewish one, but only by blood.

  15. #15 PenguinFactory
    April 24, 2010

    I’ve seen variations of Parker’s comment before. Usually I chalk it up to the fact that being respectful of religion is so ingrained in our culture. Even if someone has the guts to criticise religion they have to soften the blow by making out that something else is even worse. I don’t think it’s calculated to do that, it’s more like some sort of knee-jerk reaction.

    Of course the view is stupid for all sorts of reasons, not leat because it commits the fallacy of assuming that any explanation, no matter how unlikely or ludicrous, is better than no explanation.

  16. #16 radiometricx
    April 24, 2010

    It’s been confirmed that Comedy Central added a lot of additonal censoring to the episode.

  17. #17 AustinAcid
    April 24, 2010

    @Ruzhyo2000

    ahh, yes i knew it was one of them.

  18. #18 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 24, 2010

    Stone [...] says he’s not religious. [...] Both say they believe in God.

    Is this that “spiritual, not religious” thing?

    Sounds like a case of “you keep using that word …” to me.

  19. #19 nejishiki
    April 24, 2010

    I don’t expect comedians to ever tell me what they really think, and I’m not sure whether that interview is truthful or not. So there is not much to analyze or fuss over here. I read their show the same way I read a post by Smoggy Batzrubble – with 6.02 x 10^23 grains of salt.

  20. #20 William
    April 24, 2010

    Indeed, as I said in the previous South Park thread – they criticize anything they can but never open themselves up to any criticism. It’s very cowardly and it’s a good reason to ignore them.

  21. #21 nonsensemachine
    April 24, 2010

    I know people like Parker and Stone. They’re against being against whatever is cool to be against.

    They were the first to make fun of Bush but once it got popular to do so they stopped and made a point to portray him respectfully (which I’m not against).

    They make fun of religions they think are dumb but they also hate atheism because that’s what you’re “supposed to be” if you aren’t religious. So they settle on being “religious” and believing in some form of god while calling all religions stupid.

    If you’re rebelling against literally everything, including atheism, Parker’s statement is about what you get.

    They’re also closed-minded and “wooists.” They think most scientists are crap and deny global warming and pretty much anything else. They’re stupid libertarians, but goddamn it they can be funny and witty.

    I was impressed that they nailed Glenn Beck so hard. I would have figured they’d sidestep him because he’s on their side.

  22. #22 Bob L
    April 24, 2010

    South Park lost me back with the Tery Schaivo thing were they were so frantic to create their false equivalents they manufactured protest to kill her just so they could their precious mirror of the people who wanted to save her at all costs. It isn’t just science and religion, they refuse to decide on anything.

  23. #23 BrianX
    April 24, 2010

    True Forteanism: they seem to believe nothing can be known at all. It was postmodernism before anyone knew what the term meant.

  24. #24 Monica
    April 24, 2010

    Parker and Stone are the consummate Libertarians- they mistrust, and mock everything and everything that isn’t themselves. They’re so willing to poke fun at everyone and everything (sometimes maliciously and unfairly) but I have to wonder if they themselves are cripplingly insecure, so they point lots of fingers but are always careful to say nothing about their own sacred cows.

  25. #25 Gregory Greenwood
    April 24, 2010

    So actually looking at the available evidence to inform our view of reality is ‘ridiculous’ to Mr Parker? How disappointingly moronic of him. It is not as if we atheists refuse to admit that our knowlege of the universe is incomplete. All we do is point out that the idea that a magic sky fairy ‘poofed’ everything into existence with a wave of its non-corporeal hand is laughably unlikely and cannot be asserted without evidence, and no religion has ever provided even the tiniest shred of evidence. One could say that the Pink Quantum Unicorns did it with as much authority as any claim that Yahweh, Allah or Zeus is responsible. No evidence = no credibility as an explanation. This should be self-evident to even the meanest of intellects, but apparently not to Mr Parker. What a pity.

    As for his garbled expression of the atheist position as;

    Yeah, there’s this big, giant universe and it’s expanding and it’s all going to collapse on itself and we’re all just here, just ‘cuz. Just ‘cuz. That to me, is the most ridiculous explanation ever…

    That has to rank with the most crassly ignorant and incoherent cheap shots at rationalism I have ever seen. It truly is a level of shallow stupidity that is creationist-worthy.

    Perhaps Mr Parker should stick to his day job of making… uniquely animated cartoons that rely on profanity and toilet humour for most of their laughs and have a rather hit and miss selection of mostly fortune-cookey level philosophy thrown in for good measure, and leave serious debating to those who are capable of more than cheap, semi-humourous potshots.

    We all have our own skill sets and range of competency, Mr Parker. It appears that you have discovered the (evidently lamentably restrictive) limits of your own.

  26. #26 BrianX
    April 24, 2010

    You know, I should have realized long ago that the South Park mentality can be summed up in one word (or episode title): “Chickenfucker”.

  27. #27 envyhagane
    April 24, 2010

    If CC didn’t censor the episode, then why are Parker and Stone so adamant that they did? What do they have to gain from railing against their own channel?

  28. #28 alex.asolis.net
    April 24, 2010

    “Yeah, there’s this big, giant universe and it’s expanding and it’s all going to collapse on itself and we’re all just here, just ‘cuz. Just ‘cuz. That to me, is the most ridiculous explanation ever.”

    There is no “atheist explanation”. We don’t know how the Universe came into existence or how it got to the way it is now. Our explanation shifts based on observable evidence; there is no set in stone explanation like there is for Christianity, Islam, etc. This just shows how much of an idiot Parker is.

  29. #29 jack.rawlinson
    April 24, 2010

    You nailed it. Parker and Stone are basically Beavis and Butthead with higher IQ scores. I lost a hell of a lot of respect for them after the truly execrable “Team America”, which made it perfectly plain that they were far more interested in mindlessly scattergun sniggering than actually bothering to make sure their satirical barbs were either sharp or well-directed.

    After their empty-headed remarks about atheism I realised they’re actually not that bright, either.

  30. #30 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    April 24, 2010

    Whyyyy must rank stupidity infect the funny people too? They’re supposed to be the smart ones =/

  31. #31 rturpin
    April 24, 2010

    I think it’s fine for anyone to have no opinion on where we came from. It’s not an easy question. Two things, though. First, that leaves Trey an atheist. Second, what he is attacking is not atheism, but the Big Bang. Without knowing what the evidence for it is.

  32. #32 ted.dahlberg
    April 24, 2010

    If CC didn’t censor the episode, then why are Parker and Stone so adamant that they did? What do they have to gain from railing against their own channel?

    Attention? Viewers? Money?

    This is a good example of why I don’t really watch South Park. It can be pretty funny (for a certain value of “funny”), but it also tends to be so… stupid. I don’t mind watching comedy expressing views I disagree with. I do mind watching comedy based on… well, nothing. It can be incredibly entertaining to see someone rail against something. But only if there is some actual reasoning behind it beyond contrariness.

  33. #33 Andyo
    April 24, 2010

    I guess you just summed up the difference between South Park and Family Guy. McFarlane makes very clear where he stands. I often see how it’s become hip to hate FG, but I’m standing by it, dammit! Who the hell cares if it’s full of non-sequiturs. I’m a son of the 80’s and I fucking LOVE it!

  34. #34 Numad
    April 24, 2010

    Reading the quotes in the OP and aratina cage’s comment at 6, I’m satisfied that the opinion I had formed just from watching the show on its actual stance on these matters seems fairly accurate.

    Anti-everything my eye.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/04/i_guess_ill_have_to_watch_sout.php#comment-2455193

  35. #35 NewEnglandBob
    April 24, 2010

    I never cared for South Park at all. It is just a bunch of not-funny, unsophisticated, juvenile jokes including laughter at feces and death. I outgrew that by the time I was 8.

  36. #36 Fortknox
    April 24, 2010

    This is extremely disappointing.

    I never would have guessed that the creator of South Park would make such an idiotic comment as to say that atheism is another religious belief when it is just a default rational position based on science without any dogmatic content whatsoever.

    This idiocy falls deeper than Pascal’s Wager.

    Also join this topic I made about Jon Stewart’s show on their official forum, tell me if you agree with it-
    The Daily Show forum

  37. #37 Will E.
    April 24, 2010

    I remember this sort of reluctance to make a decision about reality when I was in college in the early ’90s. It wasn’t cool to take a side; you could mock religion, particularly fundy Xianity, but you couldn’t side with the scientists because they were, like, arrogant and stuff and you can’t prove there’s no God or spirituality and Buddhists and Wiccans and Sufis are cool! I will never forget an acquaintance telling some classmates and me about the perhaps deserved misfortune of another acquaintance; everyone murmured things like, “What goes around comes around,” “Karma,” and weirdest of all, “The world is round for a reason.” I snorted and said, “Yeah, because of gravity.”

    I was known as “Mr. Atheist” after that.

  38. #38 Timothy
    April 24, 2010

    Wow, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve read all week.

  39. #39 https://me.yahoo.com/a/S1.gFXY.qdwzatYQJ0I2ItibRo1v#544d8
    April 24, 2010

    When I first heard about the threat they received, I though it was just them doing some viral marketing.

  40. #40 Fortknox
    April 24, 2010

    I think the stupidity of Parker’s comment surpasses even most of the creationists comments.

    I still can’t believe it.

    It’s like finding out that Jon Voight is a blithering idiot all over again.

  41. #41 SaintStephen
    April 24, 2010

    Trey Parker is just ignorant. Simple as that.

    I used to hold a similar view, about 8 years ago. Parker’s meaningless attempt at “arbitration” between the two polar extremes is just a lazy, uneducated man’s way of looking cool and unbiased on a sensitive (and important) question. Parker is also just playing the whore for his TV audience, which almost certainly is composed of a significant number of religious viewers, of all stripes.

    Nothing interesting here. I’ve only watched a few South Park episodes in their entirety, and I totally agree with PZ that Parker and Stone are simply tearing down everything indiscriminately, with no rhyme or reason whatsoever. I wouldn’t waste any time consulting Trey Parker on questions of great importance to civilization, in other words.

    Parker needs to pick up a book on evolution, and stop saying idiotic things in public.

  42. #42 burgerboy06
    April 24, 2010

    Fuck, guys. You are so critical of the closest thing we have to truth in this world. NOTHING IS PERFECT. Sure, they have their faults, but its still the funniest and most honest show on television. And CC did censor everything, Stone and Parker didn’t want anything censored. I just think we atheists LOVE being against stuff as much as they do. We don’t have to be against everything, guys. We can like and back something that has faults.

  43. #43 HouseTleilaxu
    April 24, 2010

    I lost a hell of a lot of respect for them after the truly execrable “Team America”, which made it perfectly plain that they were far more interested in mindlessly scattergun sniggering than actually bothering to make sure their satirical barbs were either sharp or well-directed.

    Oh god, don’t remind me. As far as rank hypocrisy, nothing can beat Team America. The whole movie is them talking shit about Hollywood for meddling in politics and criticising the US…which is basically been all South Park has done for the last 8 years.

    South Park was funny for the first 5 or 6 seasons; after that everything became a weak parody on any “story of the week”. 5 years from now people will look back and say “wow, an episode about the Kardashians? Really?”

  44. #44 Fortknox
    April 24, 2010

    @SaintStephen, excellent comment!

    That’s exactly what it is, still disappointed though…

  45. #45 SaintStephen
    April 24, 2010

    @Fortknox:

    Thanks! Regarding your earlier comment, it’s hard for me to even look at Jon Voight’s face anymore. And I thought he was brilliant in Midnight Cowboy, and quite a few other movies.

    Such a pity that his intellect doesn’t match his acting abilities; but then again, the same could probably be said for the entire planet of Hollywood.

  46. #46 Sastra
    April 24, 2010

    The proper term here is antaganostic: “I don’t know what I believe, but whatever you believe, is stupid.”

    It’s the position of the sophisticated sneer. How funny that people care, and think about something, and take sides.

    “I believe there’s something going on that we don’t know,” Parker says. “That’s as far as I can go.”

    Oh, please, could you be a little more vague?

    I hate this rank appeal to “mystery” — there are things we don’t know, there are higher truths we can’t understand, there is something out there, there is more that we’re aware of — which “mystery” immediately thuds down to the rather specific attribute of being all about human beings and the incredible cosmic significance of how we think, and what we care about. God is never a mystery beyond mysteries: it’s always an anthropomorphic take on the universe as caring, and purposed, and feeling, and reacting to our actions in social ways. God is familiar to us. It makes the universe friendly, as opposed to indifferent, and turns it into something we relate to like its just another person.

    The “spiritual” types don’t embrace mystery. Every single damn thing that happens, is explainable in terms of ourselves. Scientists embrace mystery, and don’t always assume the “reason” has to do with us. The Spiritual are not brave mavericks who think outside the box. They buy into the status quo, the common and the simplistic. Atheists instead think the unthinkable idea that maybe we’re just not all that fucking important from an objective standpoint. “Just cuz” is only ridiculous if you think that reality would not make any sense unless there was YOU to justify its existence.

    It’s ironic that their sneering stance mimics indifference, but plops down on the side of a universe that is anything but indifferent.

  47. #47 great.american.satan
    April 24, 2010

    burgerboy – We don’t have to be in lockstep about this behind Great Leader PeeZed, even if most of us seem to be in the hater’s camp (myself included).

    You’re welcome to your opinion. Actually, a few regular commenters on this blog are bona fide libertarians, and I disagree with that view far more strongly than I disagree with South Park. But I keep coming back, until my gf tells me to knock it off.

  48. #48 aratina cage
    April 24, 2010

    Sastra,

    Atheists instead think the unthinkable idea that maybe we’re just not all that fucking important from an objective standpoint. “Just cuz” is only ridiculous if you think that reality would not make any sense unless there was YOU to justify its existence.

    Ye-up. We are just another one of the children of evolution on Earth right alongside ants. There is no “just cuz” coming from us at all, our position is where all evidence leads. Other people have said it above, but I really do see Parker and Stone’s positions as immature and underdeveloped probably due to lack of education on the matter or maybe pride in ignorance or something.

    It’s ironic that their sneering stance mimics indifference, but plops down on the side of a universe that is anything but indifferent.

    No different from Chopra in that respect or any of the spiritual gurus. They say they are antagonistic toward Hollywood, but they are actually going with the flow. In a way, such a stance brings out the most apathy in me because it highlights just how far away humanity is from becoming sane about itself.

    One other way that Parker and Stone are deluded—Hollywood is not full of liberals. It is more of a mix with a tendency toward center-right ideas. You get a few liberal films or films with a handful of liberal viewpoints and some liberal actors, but for the most part Hollywood maintains staunchly conservative output.

  49. #49 envyhagane
    April 24, 2010

    Ok, then #32 ted.dahlberg, then why did CC claim responsibility for censoring the episode?

  50. #50 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 24, 2010

    Trey Parker:

    “All the religions are super funny to me,”

    we’re all just here, just ‘cuz. Just ‘cuz.

    To me, this sounds like someone who is going to fanatically ‘discover’ religion at some point.

  51. #51 TWood
    April 24, 2010

    I’m not a conspiracy nut. No really! But nothing happens on TV by accident. There’s just way too much money at stake.

    I think Comedy Central, Trey, and Matt have been working hand in glove from the very beginning on this whole censorship thing. The very best outcome is what was actually shown with the apparent censorship. It generates lots of pity and outrage in the press which is great for ratings. If they had just shown Mohammed then the publicity would already be long gone.

  52. #52 Will E.
    April 24, 2010

    How funny that people care, and think about something, and take sides.

    Ugh, right: “Too cool to care.” I thought this attitude went out with Kurt Cobain. But I still hear it, especially after I post too many anti-religion articles on my Facebook page. People say, “If you’re not religious, why even talk about it? Why do you care so much?” Eventually this becomes “You’re just as bad as they are.”

    I maintain that until atheists wake you up on a Saturday morning knocking on your door with insane tracts to hand out, we can never be as bad as they are.

  53. #53 SaintStephen
    April 24, 2010

    Sastra #46 :

    Bravo. Excellent. Great word antaganostic!

  54. #54 ashleyfmiller
    April 24, 2010

    Trey is known for making intentionally inflammatory remarks for the laughs. Matt tends to be the more thoughtful and honest one. I think they both have an inherent dislike for being famous and giving interviews about anything other than their projects, so they tend to try to say things that are a bit intentionally assholeish.

    And I think there is something to be said for being willing to lampoon everybody.

  55. #55 Gregory Greenwood
    April 24, 2010

    ashleyfmiller @ 54;

    And I think there is something to be said for being willing to lampoon everybody.

    Lampooning is one thing. Grossly misrepresenting someones’s position, whether deliberately in order to create a strawman or out of ignorance, is entirely another.

  56. #56 https://me.yahoo.com/a/x1CsKko.p.keyee5Rk.DLZd7ts9OdS.ilqZgGw--#2a28e
    April 24, 2010

    #50: Right. Kirk Cameron is circling Parker’s trailer as we speak.

  57. #57 ted.dahlberg
    April 24, 2010

    Ok, then #32 ted.dahlberg, then why did CC claim responsibility for censoring the episode?

    Goodness, I wasn’t taking any sort of position on who did what. You asked what they would have to gain by it, I provided some possibilities. Their having a possible motive still doesn’t mean that they censored the episodes themselves. Just as implying that they would have nothing to gain by doing it doesn’t mean that they didn’t.

    Or to put it more clearly: I don’t care one whit about the censoring, I just thought you made a bad argument ;)

  58. #58 abb3w
    April 24, 2010

    As long as they keep making fun of the Christians, Muslims, Scientologists, Mormons, etc. I don’t mind if they make fun of the Atheists, too.

    That they describe the science in a silly way is just a reminder to the Godless that there’s more work to do in education and presentation. (And, perhaps a reminder that we may be living in a silly universe.)

    envyhagane: What do they have to gain from railing against their own channel?

    More word-of-mouth PR, increasing the Real Americans who will tune in. That said, I don’t think P&S were the ones to do the censorship; it’s more of a network-thing than a P&S thing. P&S seem more the type to keep trying to up the ante at least until someone makes a credible attempt on their lives.

    Now, putting up the uncensored version on BitTorrent? THAT was P&S.

  59. #59 GeorgeFromNY
    April 24, 2010

    Coupla things…

    1) Parker and Stone are shit-stirrers, often quite literally (Mr Hanky). They are provocateurs because pissing people off can be funny. This is not news. They have never denied it or pretended otherwise.

    2) South Park is not essentially ideological but is seen as such by those who find THEIR ideology in the crosshairs. Parker and Stone are aware of the Left-Liberal hivemind in the culture industry and refuse to be part of it.

    3) For this reason the two stand out like strippers at a wake and are taken to be especially Conservative, Libertarian or what have you. This is an error. South Park is not politically Right; it is just not Left.

    4) But the hegemony of the Left among their peers is such that simply being not Left is enough to make you distinguished if not downright notorious.

    5) On the atheism thing… Yes, their comments were teh stoopid, but so what? Reacting like a jilted lover says more about you than it does about Stone or Parker. So you thought they were “on the team” a la Carlin, Jillette and other outspoken atheist comics? Wrong. These guys are two wise-asses doing a cartoon show whose schtick is scatological contrarianism. If you thought Higher Things were underway, it’s because you read something into it that was never there.

  60. #60 Al B. Quirky
    April 24, 2010

    Jesus was reluctant to call himself the son of God, preferring the descriptor ‘Son of Man’. He taught his followers to refer to God as ‘our father’ and said peacemakers would be called ‘sons of God’. Luke described Adam as the ‘son of God’, so where does the Bible claim Jesus is God’s ‘only son’? Parker’s confusion is no doubt based on modern versions of John 3:16, which have dropped the word ‘begotten’ from the KJB text.

  61. #61 Ichthyic
    April 24, 2010

    i forgot old Al.

    can we add him to the Survivor Pharyngula list?

  62. #62 Rob
    April 24, 2010

    It is certainly true that Matt and Trey just tear things down and don’t offer any solutions. They also believe absurd things about atheism and atheists. And the quality of the show has been steadily declining for at least about 5 years. However, none of this has any bearing on the recent controversy. There is an absurd fallacy occurring throughout this thread: “Since they believe and often say stupid things, everything they say is a lie.”

    Stone, Parker, and Comedy Central all say that the bleeping was done after they turned in their final cut. Their previous comments about this controversy are in line with these facts as well. They are upset that in the wake of the Danish cartoons, Muslim extremists have successfully moved the line, and self-censorship by the media is the “new normal”. Whatever else you may think of South Park or Matt and Trey, they have a point on this particular issue and they are right. This interview with them illustrates their point quite effectively: South Park Interview

  63. #63 https://me.yahoo.com/a/okJN9ABk1eh1hpOE.HCbIYsToV4Owg--#f7d03
    April 24, 2010

    I think others upthread have basically nailed it: The South Park guys are really good at mocking things, pointing out absurdities and inherent contradictions–and, yes, this often results in good satire. But not always.

    In order to be engaging in satire, one has to stand for something; false equivalencies won’t cut it.

    The main reason we see so many false equivalencies these days is because of media-types who try to feign objectivity. These are the idiots who think, “Well you have the religious crazies and you have the atheist crazies and, you know, they’re all equally crazy.” This buys into the idea that somehow the more enlightened position is to reject both “extremes.” It never ceases to amaze me how some really smart people buy into this. In a weird way, I can maybe respect this position. I think it’s utterly wrong, but I can kind of respect it.

    I can’t respect the South Park guys’ position–because they really don’t have one. Their position–as others have said–is that anyone who takes a strong position is to be ridiculed. This often results in some very, very funny stuff, stuff I enjoy–but let’s not pretend it’s a serious position. Let’s not pretend it’s satire. It’s not. At least not always.

    I think South Park is hilarious. But it’s just a fact that these guys often get credit for satire when all they’ve done is mock someone. Which is fine, and damn funny, but not always satire.

  64. #64 mattand08
    April 24, 2010

    Regardless of what one thinks of the show, the whole “they’re in cahoots with Comedy Central for PR” conspiracy is bullshit. If I’m wrong, so be it, but they’d lose too much credibility with their fanbase if it came out they did something that cynical.

    To be honest, if you take out the whole Mohamed brew-ha-ha, episodes 200 and 201 were okay at best. The whole celebrity thing felt kind of forced. As a Batman fan, I did enjoy the take-off on Alan Moore’s Killing Joke.

  65. #65 mattand08
    April 24, 2010

    @#63:

    That’s a really good take on the whole situation. I was going to write something similar, but you did much more eloquently.

  66. #66 https://me.yahoo.com/a/XzfqPsd5q5pJ2hYt0algzGGUg2PWhU2dMueCW1syjJHsLw--#17453
    April 24, 2010

    I think the criticism that Matt and Trey are just contrarians without anything constructive to say is a little unfair. It’s the same kind of criticism that skeptics get all of the time. Their show is meant to be a satire, particularly of just how petty, stupid, short-sighted and gullible we humans can be. So yes, they’re gonna tear a lot of things down. See psychics, alt med, homophobia, wal-mart hysteria, 9/11 conspiracies, the catholic church, etc. I don’t think either of them believe they’re immune to the same kind of failings the rest of us are. I agree that Trey’s comments above are pretty good evidence of that.

    But as far as not building stuff up, I think they’ve done quite a bit of good. How about instilling a skeptical attitude in kids like me? I grew up watching the show as a teenager, and what I remember most clearly about the show, besides how funny it was, was the way it required me to stop and think. “Are people really being miraculously cured by a bleeding statue of Mary?” “Can a huge douche like John Edward really talk to dead people?”
    I know it seems obvious, but if you are raised to unquestionably accept the claims of organized religion or new age bullshit or whatever, then you don’t really have the tools to distinguish truth from fiction. I think for educating their audience about critical thinking Parker and Stone should be lauded.

    Yeah, Parker sounds like an ass in that quote. I hope if someone confronted him on it he’d have the good sense to admit he was wrong. But i think if you take a good look at the two you’d realize they’re the good guys and they’re on the side of science and reason in every way that counts.

  67. #67 Numad
    April 24, 2010

    “2) South Park is not essentially ideological”

    Disagreed.

    What it’s not is open or deep about its own ideology.

  68. #68 scooterKPFT
    April 24, 2010

    As usual I disagree.

    Parker and Stone are in the same social group as myself, Misanthrope. Misanthrope is a position. Carlin was the greatest misanthrope of my time, but there have been meny great Misanthropes, H.L. Mencken, arguably Mark Twain.

    Misanthropes, like anyone else can have compartmentalized illogical woozey supernatural beliefs, such as the one they expressed, which happens to be the dumbest ass-monkey hippy-dippey drug-impaired non position of them all. But why would anyone believe what they tell to reporters, as I am sure they find main stream reporters as revolting as I do.

    I also disagree that South Park is just a mockery mill.

    My kids seem to find them on cable many times a day, I have seen most episodes multiple times, and I always pick up a new joke, or word play, or thread, or subtle theme.

    They throw in quick mid-sentence jokes without drawing attention to them in the standard set-up, punchline format. In that respect they challenge their audience instead of assuming we are fucking idiots who need everything spelled out, quite rare in American electronic media.

    They could actually BE the muslim online group in New York issuing the ‘threats’ if so,

    BWAHAHAHAAHAH!!

    however I doubt they would let Comedy Central personnel in on the prank. As misanthropes I’m certain they consider Comedy Central personnel a bunch of morons.

  69. #69 Fortknox
    April 24, 2010

    These are the idiots who think, “Well you have the religious crazies and you have the atheist crazies and, you know, they’re all equally crazy.” This buys into the idea that somehow the more enlightened position is to reject both “extremes.”

    Yes, this nonsense is the number one problem for atheism.

    I think that’s why Sam Harris talked much about not using the atheist label, but some combo of more basic words that don’t sound sectarian and dogmatic, like non-superstitious, non-theist etc…

    It’s a shame atheists don’t listen to Sam Harris, I don’t think this problem is ever going away if it is not addressed directly.

  70. #70 Numad
    April 24, 2010

    “I think that’s why Sam Harris talked much about not using the atheist label, but some combo of more basic words that don’t sound sectarian and dogmatic, like non-superstitious, non-theist etc…”

    Non-theist is fairly equivalent, in meaning, to atheist. What’s to keep it from being cast as something that sounds sectarian and dogmatic?

    Because there’s nothing essentially sectarian and dogmatic about “atheist.” There was just a lot of work put into making it so.

  71. #71 The Countess
    April 24, 2010

    I stopped watching “South Park” years ago about the time of the first movie. It was entertaining but I didn’t think it was much more than that. I always thought that Trey Parker and Matt Stone only wanted to push people’s buttons, not make any kind of valid or useful political commentary. People keep saying “South Park” is satire but I never saw it that way. It didn’t make enough of a point to be satire.

    That said, I never trusted or liked Trey Parker much to begin with. Doesn’t he have one of those non-trustworthy mustaches PZ linked to in an earlier post?

  72. #72 christian
    April 24, 2010

    I’ve been a fan of South Park since the beginning, and I’ve listened to more than enough interviews and commentaries to know that the creators are being truthful here. Freedom of speech is something they are very passionate about. They really wanted to go all out here. Comedy Central even admitted that they censored the episode prior to airing.

    South Park is really a much smarter show than you give it credit for. And like it or not, they’re one of the biggest voices discouraging pseudoscience and bullshit, especially to young people.

  73. #73 recovering catholic
    April 24, 2010

    Per PZ: “95% of everything is crap.”

    My new uplifting motto!

  74. #74 Will E.
    April 24, 2010

    One of Sturgeon’s laws. PZ is being overly pessimistic!

  75. #75 scooterKPFT
    April 24, 2010

    #72

    I agree, South Park works on many levels unlike most of the hogswallow that passes for culture in the US.

    Their commitment to free speech is hardly questionable, and whether or not they think there is an invisible unknowable sky fairy, their relentless ridicule of religious mythology has innoculated an entire generation against easy indoctrination into theistic cults or aftermarket woo dogma.

    As far as results, they may very well be ahead of all the contemporary atheist movements combined.

    They are today’s answer to not John Lennon. They aren’t even more unpopular than not jesus christ.

  76. #76 Andyo
    April 24, 2010

    I understand both positions regarding the label “atheist”. I don’t use it for myself unless in a “friendly” context like here (otherwise I would say something like “I’m an atheist to a religious person but I don’t have to call myself that”, but then I have to explain how I’m also an a-unicornist and an inastrologist). I can also see how the “they gave us this label, let’s run with it and push back” position has its merit, but I tend to agree with the former.

    Every time there’s some idiot atheist claiming some stupid shit, all other atheists get the flak, deserved or not. And all are atheists on their own right. “Atheism” doesn’t imply rationality, it just implies nonbelief in gods. I think it’s better to just grab a label (if you must) that says actually something about what you do believe in). I’d rather like Secular Humanist for myself (but I don’t use it either).

    #70

    Posted by:
    Numad Author Profile Page |
    April 24, 2010 6:36 PM

    “I think that’s why Sam Harris talked much about not using the atheist label, but some combo of more basic words that don’t sound sectarian and dogmatic, like non-superstitious, non-theist etc…”

    Non-theist is fairly equivalent, in meaning, to atheist. What’s to keep it from being cast as something that sounds sectarian and dogmatic?

    “Atheist” has a history, mainly (seems to me) invented by the theists to demonize an enemy. People have an immediate aversion to it and then you have to explain what you mean. “Non-theist” would make people naturally wonder what you mean and would be more open to your explanation.

  77. #77 Andyo
    April 24, 2010

    By the way, I don’t count myself in the same group who thought “Brights” was anything but a horrible idea either.

  78. #78 Will E.
    April 24, 2010

    I remember reading an interview with David Cronenberg many years ago in which he said atheism wasn’t enough to describe his stance because it implied theism was a position worthy of being against. Harlan Ellison has said much the same thing. Good company, that.

  79. #79 great.american.satan
    April 24, 2010

    I checked out a Sam Harris talk where he advocated ditching the Atheist label, and found his arguments unusually weak. That guy is clearly a genius and a brilliant communicator and debater, but he has a few themes he keeps coming back to that especially rub me wrong: Over-generalizing Islam (Yeah I hate Islam as much as the others, but still… not rational.) and promoting “Spirituality.” His brand of spirituality is woo-free and that’s nice, but it still comes off as horseshit to me.
    -

  80. #80 scooterKPFT
    April 24, 2010

    #79

    I agree, Sam Harris got his ass handed to him in a debate by Christopher Hedges who has lived in and reported from the Middle East for many years.

    By the end of the debate, Hedges had to correct him so many times on which places were secular, which movements were popular resistance vs Jihadi, and constant geographical and historical errors that Harris had no credibilty left from which to make valid arguments against theism.

    Harris should stick his talents which which razor sharp conscise observation, and wit.

  81. #81 great.american.satan
    April 24, 2010

    I saw him debate the extra beautiful Reza Aslan on the youtube, and they both got pretty beat up. It was a little painful to watch.

    Have you heard Harris talk about spirituality, and if so, what do you think of that? His point had something to do with the search for a deeper form of happiness to occupy the empty moments of our lives, which felt weird to me on a couple of levels.

    -

  82. #82 scooterKPFT
    April 24, 2010

    # 78

    atheism wasn’t enough to describe his stance because it implied theism was a position worthy of being against.

    That’s clever but it’s a word game. I don’t know atheists who have a problem with Gods or theism, a-theist means against-theist or opposed to theists. Atheists have problems with BELIEVERS because believers act on their beliefs and those actions have consequences in the real world.

    Atheism is an improper derivative of the word atheist, because it means against theism.

    The proper derivative would be the clumsy Atheistism.

    With that in mind Cronenberg’s comment is clever, but not applicable to atheists, whom may or may not subscribe to atheism.

    It’s the BELIEVERS that are the problem, not the ism.

  83. #83 great.american.satan
    April 24, 2010

    The video I saw had Sam Harris saying if we take away the label it takes away some of the theist’s arguments, but that is patently absurd. Anyone could see through the word change and tell they were debating an atheist – or a whatever. My point is that they’d still be using the same tired arguments so that was a weak way to support his thesis.

    Not familiar with this other argument (atheism not worthy to describe yadda yadda). I know there are good reasons to semantically push some different label, but since it won’t fool anyone and the majority of my countrymen identify as Christians, I’ll proudly accept their stupid label for me – until that changes.

  84. #84 speedweasel
    April 24, 2010

    @burgerboy06 #42

    ?I like South Park. I criticize South Park?

  85. #85 Will E.
    April 24, 2010

    #82,

    Point taken. I guess I should’ve added that this was personally revelatory to me in 1992 when I was 21 and figured I was an atheist, but hadn’t read anyone but philosophers, if even them, discuss the issue.

  86. #86 Kel, OM
    April 24, 2010

    I agree, Sam Harris got his ass handed to him in a debate by Christopher Hedges who has lived in and reported from the Middle East for many years.

    Chris Hedges is good like that. I still remembering him handing DJ Grothe’s arse to him on Point of Inquiry.

  87. #87 phoenixwoman
    April 24, 2010

    By the way, not all cartoonists are chickenshits like Parker and Stone:

    Seattle cartoonist launches “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”

    After Comedy Central cut a portion of a South Park episode following a death threat from a radical Muslim group, Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris wanted to counter the fear. She has declared May 20th “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.”

    Norris told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross that cartoonists are meant to challenge the lines of political correctness. “That’s a cartoonist’s job, to be non-PC.”

    You can see the manifesto here: http://media.bonnint.net/seattle/3/373/37326.jpg

  88. #88 thrawn369
    April 24, 2010

    You can be funny about the universe without attacking science:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buqtdpuZxvk

    I think Parker and Stone are scared that if they accept the idea of a pointless, absurd, godless universe, they’ll have to wear berets and hang out in cafes all the time, and that would be so, like, gay.

  89. #89 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 24, 2010

    @Kel

    Chris Hedges is good like that. I still remembering him handing DJ Grothe’s arse to him on Point of Inquiry.

    Kel, wow – I’m honestly shocked. This same Chris Hedges wrote a book called I Don’t Believe in Atheists in which he equates the most prominent atheists with neocon thugs, and says they’re just as dangerous as religious fundamentalists. He has show extreme intellectual dishonesty. That’s not to say he doesn’t have his areas of expertise, or that he might not be right about this, that, or the other thing, but . . . he really doesn’t like outspoken atheists and he’s not above lying about them.

  90. #90 Kel, OM
    April 24, 2010

    Kel, wow – I’m honestly shocked.

    Listen to the interview and decide for yourself. Not saying that Hedges had it all his own way, DJ did well on some claims. On others, he made the same bad generalisations as Harris did and for that he got his arse handed to him.

  91. #91 PZ Myers
    April 24, 2010

    Hedges is a weird one. I really liked American Fascists, but when he gets on the topic of atheism, he is completely nuts.

  92. #92 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 24, 2010

    You’re right Kel, I haven’t listened to the interview, and your assessment may well be right. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not interested in “my side” winning or losing in such a scenario. If Hedges was right, he was right. But his other work, his dishonesty and vitriol against atheists at large, tells me lots of what I need to know about him.

  93. #93 https://me.yahoo.com/a/okJN9ABk1eh1hpOE.HCbIYsToV4Owg--#f7d03
    April 24, 2010

    I have to agree that Chris Hedges is obnoxious. Mind you, when he’s opining about anything other than religion and/or atheism, I generally agree with him. But when he’s speaking about atheism and atheists, he’s mind-blowingly stupid. For Hedges, any atheist that dares to point out the fact that religion isn’t true (you know, that little thing) is essentially an “extremist” and by definition on par with Falwell and Ken Hamm. Seriously–he’s that dumb.

  94. #94 Ichthyic
    April 24, 2010

    Kel, wow – I’m honestly shocked. This same Chris Hedges wrote a book called I Don’t Believe in Atheists in which he equates the most prominent atheists with neocon thugs, and says they’re just as dangerous as religious fundamentalists. He has show extreme intellectual dishonesty.

    people can compartmentalize just fine.

    It shouldn’t surprise anyone here that intelligent people can say and write really stupid shit, like Hedge’s book, or Collins’, or Miller’s version of quantum theistic evolution, or Ayala’s support of NOMA, or Mooney with “Republican War on Science” then followed by his latest tripe.

    nobody is sacred. some less than others, though.

  95. #95 Numad
    April 24, 2010

    “‘Atheist’ has a history, mainly (seems to me) invented by the theists to demonize an enemy. People have an immediate aversion to it and then you have to explain what you mean. ‘Non-theist’ would make people naturally wonder what you mean and would be more open to your explanation.”

    I just don’t think conceding to these theists’ rethoric is a positive idea.

  96. #96 Andyo
    April 25, 2010

    I don’t think it’s conceding anything. “Atheist” is a word that the theists like. They don’t want us to stop calling ourselves “atheists”. On the contrary, I don’t want to concede when religious people arrogantly claim that I’m an “atheist” as if I had to define myself by my position on what they believe. That’s why I always go with the “but I’m also an inastrologist” thing, and if I’m in the mood for a bit of mockery, I go with the “a-unicornist” and “a-bigfootist” labels as well.

  97. #97 Numad
    April 25, 2010

    They’re trying to make atheist into a toxic word, and you’re suggesting that we’d better act as if it was a toxic word; I think that qualifies conceding. Regardless, I’ll keep on using the word atheist, rather than fish out any superfluous equivalents to accomodate someone else’s presentation of my viewpoint, altough I’ll remain flexible on how I describe my various positions. So I’ll just have to propose we agree to disagree on that.

  98. #98 great.american.satan
    April 25, 2010

    Seattle cartoonist launches “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”

    I’m an artist and I’m there. Hell, I’m geographically there, a few miles down the highway from Seattle.

  99. #99 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 25, 2010

    They’re trying to make atheist into a toxic word, and you’re suggesting that we’d better act as if it was a toxic word; I think that qualifies conceding.

    Agreed. Changing terminology, it seems to me, is just a pointless exercise in “branding.” It’s not the word that causes problems, it’s the connotations that attach to the word. Changing the word won’t get rid of the root problem – Steven Pinker recognizes this and refers to it as the “euphemism treadmill.” Sooner or later, the new, “polite” word for the unacceptable thing will come to be recognized as a word for that unacceptable thing anyway.

    The only solution is changing societal attitudes about the thing; changing the word is an exercise in futility.

  100. #100 John Morales
    April 25, 2010

    Josh,

    Changing terminology, it seems to me, is just a pointless exercise in “branding.” It’s not the word that causes problems, it’s the connotations that attach to the word. Changing the word won’t get rid of the root problem

    Exactly.

    There was a time when ‘gay’ meant festive, happy, joyful, lively, bright and pleasant. I mourn its loss, as there in no synonymous term now, and one must perforce use a circumlocution.

    Of course, now it’s no less and no more used as a slur than was the previous term (“that’s so gay”). :|

    The relevant change has been in the perception of its connotation.

  101. #101 Andyo
    April 25, 2010

    Atheist has always been a toxic word. It started that way, they invented it. What you guys are doing is trying to clean it up, which is great, but when I’m talking to a religious person (or those pesky “you can’t know either way” so-called “agnostics”), I’m not having it.

    Of course the word is not the only thing that causes trouble, but I don’t mean to switch it for anything either. Maybe it seemed that I implied that, but I don’t. I’m just not gonna play that game with them. I’m happy to call myself atheist here where we all know what it means, but I don’t wanna play along when they say I am that. I guess for me it’s not much about what they think about the connotations, it’s probably more about just not following their twisted logic, and a bit of spite.

    Also, too many other people which I disagree with (some even more than with some religious) label themselves “atheist”.

    Again, I don’t advocate other “atheists” to change or not how they define themselves. I don’t really care either way, but for me, I just don’t wanna define myself by what I don’t believe in.

  102. #102 great.american.satan
    April 25, 2010

    Wow, I never heard of this Hedges cat until now. I followed the link to PZ’s earlier article on him, with its choice excerpts of his madness. Holy hell, that guy is crazy!

    Compartmentalization works well for people who aren’t too bright, or who have no need to focus on the thing they’re ignoring (engineers denying evolution more than biologists). It seems to me like Hedges can’t do it well enough, because the nagging of Reality fuels his intense vitriol. He’s yelling to drown out the voices in his head.

  103. #103 Kel, OM
    April 25, 2010

    I remember Dan Barker’s speech in Melbourne recently. One of the things he said was that when he was preaching, he preached against humanism – despite not knowing what humanism was.

    The point being no matter what we call ourselves people are still going to rally against it. Secularism, humanism, naturalism – these words are all perfectly fine yet we hear fundamentalists rallying against them and what they think the words mean. You’re not going to mandate against stupidity and ignorance by simply doing a change of label.

  104. #104 scooterKPFT
    April 25, 2010

    The mighty squidLord and his spittle flecked hordes have let me down on the subject of Chris Hedges and Sam Harris.

    Here is the link if you’d like to check it out, I highly recommend it, as it points out jaw dropping deficiencies on both sides.
    http://richarddawkins.net/articles/1300

    Harris is so ignorant of politics, his critiques of Arab societies are as infantile as Fox News, he is convinced Arabs would be happy getting murdered by Israelis, Americans, Brits, and other predatory malignant parasites but instead of celebrating the murder of their children, they object to it, therefore Islam must be warping their branes.

    Hedges, on the other hand, manages to reject Harris’ critiques of Xianity by agreeing with him that the Old Testament is inaccurate, the New Testament was inaccurate, Christ may have been a composite character, but there is an ontological element of sin that Harris doesn’t grasp, because he has not studied theology, or delved into the ontology of ontological ontology.

    WHHHHAAAAAT!!!!!

    Harris then retreats to his standard responses and doesn’t call Hedges out on his dodge, because he got razzle dazzled with theology, which is the ideology of non-believers who want to hang out in churches because they think the masses are too stupid to be moral without skyDaddy..

  105. #105 John Morales
    April 25, 2010

    Andyo, FFS.

    I don’t really care either way, but for me, I just don’t wanna define myself by what I don’t believe in.

    By your protestation you evince that you’ve bought into their characterisation. You’re accepting their framing.

    It’s a attribute descriptor and only relates to your deity-belief status, it’s not an identity!

    Are you a man/woman? Adult/teenager? Smoker/nonsmoker?

    Are any of those your identity, such that you define yourself by them? ;)

  106. #106 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 25, 2010

    Andyo:

    What you guys are doing is trying to clean it up, which is great, but when I’m talking to a religious person (or those pesky “you can’t know either way” so-called “agnostics”), I’m not having it.

    I’m not so much trying to “clean up” the word “atheist” as I am actively refusing to accept the evil-baby-eating connotations it carries. I’m trying, through various means, to attack the root hatred of atheists. Part of that is refusing to give in to the baby-eating meme, and refusing to refuse to call myself an atheist. I won’t let them have their way with that word.

    I think about it the way I think about the word “queer,” long a “dirty” word. The activists said, “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it.” They thumbed their noses (or, more accurately, stuck up their middle fingers) at bigots, and said, “fuck you very much.”

  107. #107 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 25, 2010

    @Kel:

    You’re not going to mandate against stupidity and ignorance by simply doing a change of label.

    Exactly. Thank you.

  108. #108 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 25, 2010

    I just don’t wanna define myself by what I don’t believe in.

    Then don’t. But do know you’re willingly playing into the position the religionists want you to be in. They very much want you to doubt, and fret, and agonize over the nuanced meanings of words, and whether you define yourself by what you believe in or don’t. They’re quite happy for you to waste your time on these trivialities (I’m not trying to be insulting, please believe me) so they can get a free pass on their bad behavior that affects everyone in society.

    Summary: You don’t have a choice about whether you’re defined as an atheist, you are. They don’t give a shit about your intellectual agonizing. Deal with it, or be forever at a political disadvantage. It’s that cut and dried.

  109. #109 llewelly
    April 25, 2010

    Kel, OM | April 24, 2010 8:28 PM:

    Chris Hedges is good like that. I still remembering him handing DJ Grothe’s arse to him on Point of Inquiry.

    From what I recall of that interview (though it’s been almost 2 years), I think you’re making the mistake of judging that interview as a debate. DJ Grothe kept it from being a debate, despite Chris Hedges’ attempts to turn it into one. On the whole, DJ Grothe tries to avoid debating those he interviews – even blatant creationists. He was very clearly prepared to introduce listeners to Chris Hedges’ views, and not to debate him. (Interview, not debate, was always DJ Grothe’s modus operandi on POI.) Also – while he clearly disagrees with Chris Hedges on some points, DJ has as much sympathy for the accommodationist stance as he does for the affirmative atheist stance. (And he has about as much sympathy for “framing” as he does for its opponents.) Now – if it had been a debate – I will admit I don’t think DJ would have fared well – Hedges’ is a superb debater, even when facts and logic are clearly not on his side.

  110. #110 Andyo
    April 25, 2010

    John Morales, #105,

    Well my point is that I’m a man, not a non-woman. I don’t think I’ve ever referred to myself as a non-smoker, and I say “I don’t think” because it’s not important enough for me to care about it.

    So, that’s why I point out that if I have to call myself an atheist, I’d also have to call myself an inastrologist, and an aunicornist. I am technically all those three, but I don’t have a reason to call myself those. The theist may call me atheist, the unicornist may call me aunicornist, and the astrologist may call me inastrologist, and they’d be right, but I have no desire to conform to their framing.

    Which brings me to your mentioning me accepting their framing. I think I’m doing just the opposite, maybe I didn’t get what you meant.

  111. #111 scooterKPFT
    April 25, 2010

    #102 GAS

    It seems to me like Hedges can’t do it well enough, because the nagging of Reality fuels his intense vitriol. He’s yelling to drown out the voices in his head.

    In order to understand Hedges you have to know that he is the son of a protestant minister war protester from the sixties, and carried on that tradition by going into Central America to be a war reporter where no other war reporters would go, and then he went to Yugoslavia when that all came apart, and almost everybody he ever knew that reported with him is now dead, and he realized he was addicted to the cycle of violence and adrenaline, and he chooses to understand that as sin, having seen people’s heads on pikes, bodies displayed with intestines torn out breasts cut off, and genitals in mouths for the sake of terrifying the enemy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2SaM8RJ30c

    He’s a complex and wounded character who has thrown himself into carnage and gunfire for many years, escaped the cycle of adrenaline and has as much or more to say about the human condition than most people I know, namely winky dicks like Sam Harris and Hitchens who are closet racist assholes, though I salute their might as comrades.

  112. #112 Andyo
    April 25, 2010
    I just don’t wanna define myself by what I don’t believe in.

    Then don’t. But do know you’re willingly playing into the position the religionists want you to be in. They very much want you to doubt, and fret, and agonize over the nuanced meanings of words, and whether you define yourself by what you believe in or don’t. They’re quite happy for you to waste your time on these trivialities (I’m not trying to be insulting, please believe me) so they can get a free pass on their bad behavior that affects everyone in society.

    Summary: You don’t have a choice about whether you’re defined as an atheist, you are. They don’t give a shit about your intellectual agonizing. Deal with it, or be forever at a political disadvantage. It’s that cut and dried.

    Maybe our experiences are different. I think that they are quite pleased to hear me say I’m an atheist, if I say I don’t believe in gods.

    I understand that I’m defined as an atheist. I said above that they can call me that, and they would be right from their point of view. I actually do tell them exactly that. I don’t tell them they’re wrong, just that from my point of view, it’s irrelevant and I just don’t have to call myself an atheist.

    Again guys, I do understand both positions, that’s why I’m not advocating changing anything. “Atheist” just doesn’t work for me, for the most part. Maybe our experiences are different. I don’t deal with fundies a lot. I live in Los Angeles and was born and raised in a pretty lax catholic environment in South America. My more annoying problem, now that I think more about it, is with those so-called agnostics I referenced above.

  113. #113 apologus
    April 25, 2010

    I don’t understand why it matters what the writers of SP think. They have a right to make fun of whatever they want. They also have a right not to state any facts about their personal ideologies. I’ve tried watching the show a few times, and it is 99% crap. I’d say let them take a foul-mouth stab at whatever they want, it’s better than not doing it at all.

    They may be helping in the fight against religion. Besides, I’d take a deist over a Xian, any day.

  114. #114 zoobiewa
    April 25, 2010

    Wow, I did a decent skim of the comments thread and nobody is defending thes south park boys? When I read P.Z.’s quote I immediately thought, “Well yeah, the universe IS ridiculous.” Just because we have evidence doesn’t mean that the fact we’re clueless, sitting on a blip, with no answer for what it all means and then the universe is going to collapse or something else…. that’s pretty freaking ridiculous.

    IMO: Trey Parker made another funny.

    I bet he thinks it’s ridiculous. And I bet he is an atheist, too.

  115. #115 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 25, 2010

    @Scooter:

    namely winky dicks like Sam Harris and Hitchens who are closet racist assholes,

    Care to support that charge, or were you just going to throw it out there?

  116. #116 GeorgeFromNY
    April 25, 2010

    PhoenixW – “Chickenshits?”

    It was the bosses at Comedy Central who ‘folded like a Bedouin tent’ (Mark Steyn’s apt phrase) and censored the show, just as they censored the previous Mohammed image on the show. This is a settled matter of fact.

    BTW, in the linked piece about your supposedly non-chickenshit cartoonist, Molly Norris, we find this:

    Norris has asked other artists to submit drawings of any religious figure to be posted as part of Citizens Against Citizens Against Humor (CACAH) on May 20th.

    On her website Norris explains this is not meant to disrespect any religion, but rather meant to protect people’s right to express themselves. (emphasis added)

    Not exactly a full throat roar of defiance in the face of Sharia, now is it?

    Parker and Stone were quite willing to draw pictures of, mention, criticize and crack jokes about Mohammed. They still are.

    Now, if you want to see genuine chickenshit-ism, check out the long list of publishers, newspapers and TV networks which, to this day, refuse to show the famous Danish cartoons. As of August 09, we can add Yale University Press to this august assemblage.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2225504

  117. #117 scooterKPFT
    April 25, 2010

    @115 ask away, what do you believe and how am I inaccurate

  118. #118 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 25, 2010

    Andyo:

    Maybe our experiences are different.

    Oh, undoubtedly they are, and thanks for taking the time to explain yours. My main point is that – as cosmically unfair as it is – we can’t just choose to ignore the ways people label us. We can only grab ahold of those labels and remake their meaning, or we can just let majority shitheads keep having their way with us. It’s not fair, but it’s reality.

    My more annoying problem, now that I think more about it, is with those so-called agnostics I referenced above.

    Don’t even get me started on certain types of agnostics. The next time I hear someone say, “Well, I can’t really know, so I very humbly say I have no way of discriminating between the idea of a god, or the idea of there not being a god,” someone is going to get smacked upside the head with my good cast iron skillet.

  119. #119 Andyo
    April 25, 2010

    #117 scooter

    you’re a closet racist asshole.

    Now, ask away. what do you believe and how am I inaccurate?

    you know, cause you have the burden of proof to prove that you’re not a closet racist asshole.

  120. #120 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 25, 2010

    @115 ask away, what do you believe and how am I inaccurate

    The burden of proof is on you to back up the provocative claim that Harris and Hitchens are “closet racist assholes.” But you knew that, so let’s stop being coy about it. Whatcha got?

  121. #121 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 25, 2010

    Andyo: jinx!

  122. #122 Andyo
    April 25, 2010

    Well, it was kind of an obvious one anyway.

  123. #123 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 25, 2010

    Well, it was kind of an obvious one anyway.

    Yep, and really lame. So lame it was surprising to see someone write it down.

  124. #124 Kel, OM
    April 25, 2010

    DJ Grothe kept it from being a debate, despite Chris Hedges’ attempts to turn it into one.

    I wouldn’t call that entirely accurate, part of the success of his interviews is that he often challenges particular claims. It’s not a debate debate, but he’s hardly a passive interviewer. And that, to me at least, is why his shows are so interesting.

  125. #125 Andyo
    April 25, 2010

    One more and I’m off the internets for a few hours.

    Zoobiewa #114,

    “Well yeah, the universe IS ridiculous.” Just because we have evidence doesn’t mean that the fact we’re clueless, sitting on a blip, with no answer for what it all means and then the universe is going to collapse or something else…. that’s pretty freaking ridiculous.

    You have no answer cause you’re asking the wrong question. Answer might as well be forty-two.

  126. #126 John Morales
    April 25, 2010

    Andyo,

    So, that’s why I point out that if I have to call myself an atheist, I’d also have to call myself an inastrologist, and an aunicornist. I am technically all those three, but I don’t have a reason to call myself those.

    But you don’t have to, except when you choose to make it clear you’re not a theist.
    In which case, there’s an extant convenient word for it, which is not the case if you wish to make it clear that you’re not a believer in astrology or in the reality of unicorns.

    What it sounds like is that you feel you have to avoid using that specific term, though you presumably don’t hold back from denying that you’re a theist, when the occasion for it arises.

    Which brings me to your mentioning me accepting their framing. I think I’m doing just the opposite, maybe I didn’t get what you meant.

    You say it’s a “toxic word”, that “[you] don’t wanna define myself by what [you] don’t believe in”.

    You’re not doing the opposite; describing yourself as an atheist is not defining yourself — that’s their frame.
    It’s not an ideology, it doesn’t imply you accept any dogma, it doesn’t say anything about your morality, it doesn’t impute anything about your actual beliefs.
    All it says is that you’re not a theist.

  127. #127 Numad
    April 25, 2010

    Andyo,

    “Well my point is that I’m a man, not a non-woman. I don’t think I’ve ever referred to myself as a non-smoker[...]”

    Well, another point you kind of made was that you thought that the substitution of atheist by non-theist was a good idea; which is what I disagreed with.

    One’s atheism is only relevant proportionally to the presence of theistic notions. Personally, I only identify as an atheist in relevant contexts. I agree that one’s experience, circumstances and interests would affect how often the context is relevant.

    I haven’t printed “atheist” on my calling cards, but it does come up, and when it does I’ve just observed that non-euphemestic language doesn’t make the kind of theist in question particularly happy.

  128. #128 TimKO,,.,,
    April 25, 2010

    I’ve met Matt and Trey (we have friends in common, or did) but have no qualms about calling the show out. It’s not funny and not entertaining for males over the age of 16. I know boys who love it; that’s fine. It’s the same humor boys engage in. Sadly, Matt and Trey are still those boys, intellectually, hence being stuck in this project. Straw man attacks to make it look (to the non-discerning) like satire as a defense against substance and in lieu of actual thinking. Shallow is fine if it’s funny (like, say, a Farelly movie) but South Park says “look at us,, aren’t we brats for egging our neighbors house? And he’s such a stupid poopyhead that he doens’t know it’s us!”.

    It’s not hard to see the ultra-con positions. They don’t ream everybody “equally”, and haven’t been funny since about season 2.

  129. #129 zoobiewa
    April 25, 2010

    You have no answer cause you’re asking the wrong question. Answer might as well be forty-two.

    Oh gooshiness. Please, tell me what the right question might be and enlighten me to the fact that the universe ain’t absurd. The universe is ridiculous through and through!

  130. #130 TimKO,,.,,
    April 25, 2010

    They make the “jit r dun” guy look highbrow. LCD sells.

  131. #131 Numad
    April 25, 2010

    Euphemistic.

    I’m sorry for not proof reading these comments properly.

  132. #132 scooterKPFT
    April 25, 2010

    Josh Gay:

    The burden of proof is on you to back up the provocative claim that Harris and Hitchens are “closet racist assholes.”

    Sam Harris’ last entries in his letter to an Xian Nation includes unfounded accusations of insanity against islamic retards, and why the enlightened might have to wipe them out to protect Sam Harris think.

    Sam HarrisThink ignores the subjugation of women and child slaves in every corner of the world that didn’t include religious oppression, which is why you are a fucking idiot.

    Wear those sneakers and snarl at Islam with pride.

    Christopher Hitchens supported supported George Bush’s assault on Iraq as a response to 911 which is a logical fallacy you could drive a truck full of Hindu gods through

  133. #133 great.american.satan
    April 25, 2010

    Sorry I got you in trouble with the peeps, scooter! I definitely agree there’s big underlying problems with hitchens and harris, though I’d characterize it differently. I’ll give the warrior-poet hedges a look in that video, but tonight i must end my pharyngulation.

    Word, y’all.

  134. #134 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 25, 2010

    Josh Gay:

    Fuck you.

  135. #135 scooterKPFT
    April 25, 2010

    Thanks

  136. #136 Militant Agnostic
    April 25, 2010

    Ichthyic @94

    It shouldn’t surprise anyone here that intelligent people can say and write really stupid shit, like Hedge’s book, or Collins’, or Miller’s version of quantum theistic evolution, or Ayala’s support of NOMA, or Mooney with “Republican War on Science” then followed by his latest tripe.

    To paraphrase Steven Weinberg

    Religion is an insult to human intelligence. With or without it you would have smart people saying good things and stupid people saying stupid things. But for smart people to say stupid things, that takes religion.

    Equating the Big Bang with Atheism is double plus stupid, since the theory was first proposed by a scientist who was also Catholic Priest (Lemaitre).

  137. #137 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 25, 2010

    You’re welcome.

  138. #138 Jadehawk, OM
    April 25, 2010

    wtf?

    It’s prety much a given that Hitchens is an Islamphopic reactionary ass who would like to bomb the middle east back into the stone age, pre-emptively.

    I know less about Harris, but he’s shown signs of Islamophobia as well, treating all middle-eastern Muslims like one undifferentiated and hostile mass.

    why is this even being argued here? because they got their ass handed on that particular subject by a godbot? it happens. no reason to revert to tribalism and defend Harris’ and Hitchens’ attitudes.

  139. #139 Andyo
    April 25, 2010

    Whatever they think, do you really think it’s because they’re racists?

    Right or wrong they may be, it doesn’t seem to me that race is of any consideration. They might paint the Islamic culture with a broad brush, but I’ve never felt that race was one of their considerations.

  140. #140 Jadehawk, OM
    April 25, 2010

    Islamophobia is a special subset of racism, similar to antisemitism directed against Jews. The race, culture, and religion become thoroughly entangled; and it’s not like either of them fears the white suburban american convert; they fear the brown muslim from the desert.

  141. #141 Andyo
    April 25, 2010

    Wouldn’t what they are against Islam be more analogous to anti-Zionism?

  142. #142 Jadehawk, OM
    April 25, 2010

    only in it’s most virulent, actually anti-semitic variations, which is why I didn’t bother making that extra step.

  143. #143 John Morales
    April 25, 2010

    they fear the brown muslim from the desert.

    I’m with Andyo on this one. Your average yobbo, maybe. Hitchens and Harris? I very much doubt it.

    List of countries by Muslim population.

    Around 62% of the world’s Muslims live in Asia [...]
    About 20% of Muslims live in Arab countries.

  144. #144 Andyo
    April 25, 2010
    #129

    Posted by:
    zoobiewa Author Profile Page |
    April 25, 2010 2:04 AM

    You have no answer cause you’re asking the wrong question. Answer might as well be forty-two.

    Oh gooshiness. Please, tell me what the right question might be and enlighten me to the fact that the universe ain’t absurd. The universe is ridiculous through and through!

    It’s absurd only in the sense that it doesn’t owe anyone an explanation. The universal Why question doesn’t make any sense to be asked. How, now that is an interesting question.

  145. #145 Jadehawk, OM
    April 25, 2010

    I’m with Andyo on this one. Your average yobbo, maybe. Hitchens and Harris? I very much doubt it.

    um… that was the whole point made above about Harris: that he knew fuck all about the subject and needed to be constantly corrected.

  146. #146 Rorschach
    April 25, 2010

    Never watched a single SP episode, the format is just too ridiculous.

    I’m surprised about this comment :

    Matt Stone is the Jewish one, but only by blood.

    So he was jewish before they stuffed his brain full of stone-age dogma and snipped the tip of his willy off ?
    (I realise babies are considered to be jewish when born to a jewish mother, whether they believe/practice later or not)

    Since when is “jewish” a race ? It’s a religious movement, nothing else.

  147. #147 John Morales
    April 25, 2010

    Jadehawk, fair enough, I am opining from ignorance. I hadn’t (and can’t be bothered to) seen that specific video; my opinion was formed based on other works by him.

    Perhaps he really thinks the typical Islamist is a “brown muslim from the desert”.

  148. #148 scooterKPFT
    April 25, 2010

    139

    Whatever they think, do you really think it’s because they’re racists ?

    Ye

  149. #149 Rorschach
    April 25, 2010

    Expanding on my @146, since this is a somewhat complicated topic where a lot of confusion is around, here is some background info.

  150. #150 scooterKPFT
    April 25, 2010

    yes I do believe they are racists, and idiots and classists, and when the shit goes down i will shoot you first as frauds and pseudo intellectuals who have been running the scam that religious retards are more stupid than American nationalists.

    I’ll side with religious retards before nationalist imperialist Americans any day, because the mindset of the typical American is way more stupider than any muslim extremist or god sucking rag head.

    Count the dead bodies and try to remain smarmy about the superiority of your western culture.

  151. #151 Andyo
    April 25, 2010

    Jadehawk, I’m not convinced especially by statements like this:

    it’s not like either of them fears the white suburban american convert; they fear the brown muslim from the desert.

    Again, I’ve never heard anything from them that implies racism, it’s never crossed my mind when hearing them speak. And I think they “fear” whitey christians just as much.

    scooter, you might wanna try this thing called “explaining” like Jadehawk is doing, convincing or not, at least try it, for fuck’s sake.

  152. #152 scooterKPFT
    April 25, 2010

    My problem with whitey has been rotting in their jails for several years, how is it going for you?

    Do you feel safe yet?

  153. #153 scooterKPFT
    April 25, 2010

    And by the way, back to satire and parody, I lived to express that:

    Teabaggering monster terrifies KPFT on Tax day.

    Part 1
    http://acksisofevil.org/audio/inner266.mp3

    Part 2
    http://acksisofevil.org/audio/inner267.mp3

  154. #154 Andyo
    April 25, 2010

    And?

  155. #155 aratina cage
    April 25, 2010

    zoobiewa #114,

    Wow, I did a decent skim of the comments thread and nobody is defending thes south park boys?

    I thought I had refuted the title of this post by quoting the part where they give positive answers about their beliefs. It doesn’t make their beliefs any less ridiculous than those they skewer on the show, however.

    TimKO,,.,, #128,

    [I] have no qualms about calling the show out. It’s not funny and not entertaining for males over the age of 16.

    Get off your snooty high-horse. I don’t recall any 16-year-olds nor only males watching South Park at the pub.

  156. #156 Steve
    April 25, 2010

    I stopped watching South Park when they did the two-part atheism episode mocking Richard Dawkins. Mormonism and Scientology deserve to be mocked, because they are frankly ridiculous belief systems. Some atheists certainly deserve to be made fun of, too, but Richard Dawkins? I’m sure there are those on the religious side who will see this as a double standard, as my being offended at having my personal “sacred cow” attacked, but that’s not it at all. I just thought their view of Dawkins was really off-base. Their criticism of atheism as being tantamount to its own religion had some validity, but did it really take two episodes to say that? I was left with a feeling of “WTF?” after that show. Add to that its tendency to become ever more preachy (the show has crossed the line from satire into blunt commentary), and I’m done with it.

  157. #157 scooterKPFT
    April 25, 2010

    The bullets you buy, the skulls they fracture to extract minerals from lands you’ll never see.

    They worship gods but are scraped off the top of their lands and thrown away and die with no fanfare.

    My fellow atheists are silent to0o often

  158. #158 PZ Myers
    April 25, 2010

    Lampooning Richard Dawkins is just fine — I have no problem with someone making fun of atheism. The problem with that episode is that they did it so badly. Good satire works when it has a germ of truth to it, but the whole thing with Dawkins having sex with a transsexual was just out of the blue and completely irrelevant; they just threw it in as a stupid, baseless attempt at an insult, like calling someone gay. And then the whole premise of the story was that atheism is just another religion, and where have we heard that before? Old, tired claims do not make an entertaining premise.

  159. #159 Kel, OM
    April 25, 2010

    I stopped watching South Park when they did the two-part atheism episode mocking Richard Dawkins.

    Come on, that episode was hilarious. “You’re the retarded offspring of five monkeys having butt sex with a fish-squirrel! Congratulations!” – funniest definition of evolution ever. And the lame defence of God: “Perhaps believing in God makes him exist.” Yep, that’s the kind of thinking that really does trump science and reason…

    It was a pretty lame straw man argument, but that’s what South Park does best. You don’t watch Penn & TellerSouth Park for critical thinking, you watch it because they mock the shit out of what they don’t like. Any actual critical thinking in action is a bonus.

  160. #160 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    April 25, 2010

    Aratinacage,
    While I agree that Stone and Parker have at least made a commitment to deism, it seems to me that even in doing so, they have copped out, embracing only the most vague and innocuous belief. To merely say there’s something going on that we don’t understand? Well, hot shit, who can argue with that? The problem is that then they go on to deny what we already do know–hell, they don’t even bother to find out what we know.

    Basically, I think Stone and Parker have adopted nihilism because they are too afraid to cherish any beliefs or values lest someone attack or satirize those values. Yeah, they’re funny. But reducing the entire world to yuks is kind of a pathetic philosophy of life.

  161. #161 RamblinDude
    April 25, 2010

    I didn’t mind the absurd future-atheist conflict in that episode. I didn’t see it as showing that atheism is just another religion, but rather that it could be, as a warning that anything can be turned into dogma, and I agree with that warning.

    I thought their lampooning of Dawkins was more telling of their anti-atheist stance. Having him get into an obvious gay relationship by mistake wasn?t just gratuitous nonsense. That?s a pretty basic error to make in life?so what else is he wrong about? Is he actually just another closet gay religious fundie?

    (Okay, I admit to chuckling anyway at ?Oooooh, scissor me!)

  162. #162 aratina cage
    April 25, 2010

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space #160,

    The problem is that then they go on to deny what we already do know–hell, they don’t even bother to find out what we know.

    True, but how many deists and theists do the same? That is as far as my defense of them goes; they are no worse intellectually with their cagey deistic responses and ignorant strawperson erection than the typical non-creationist (or non-Biblical-literalistic) believer.

  163. #163 mattand08
    April 25, 2010

    I came away from the Dawkins South Park ep with the notion that it’s human nature to war over anything. At the time, though, I didn’t realize that Parker and Stone are into the Bill Maher “atheism is another religion” garbage.

    I saw Parker and Stone at TAM 5 back in ’07. I think the Dawkins ep came up, but my recollection is Stone saying he liked some parts of The God Delusion and thought others were crap. Other than that, I don’t recall any other comments on atheists.

    I do being surprised they were there in the first place. The shows they did on busting psychics, 9/11, etc., probably got them the invite.

    Regarding Hitchens: is he still insisting that Iraq/Hussein were involved in 9/11?

  164. #164 mattand08
    April 25, 2010

    Ugh; 3rd paragraph @163 should be “do recall being surprised”.

  165. #165 Mal Adapted
    April 25, 2010

    cgranade:

    Our intuitions do a poor job of telling us what’s true and what isn’t (though one can train their intuition to be better at this), and so we must rely on evidence.

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space:

    The problem is that then they go on to deny what we already do know–hell, they don’t even bother to find out what we know.

    I think these two comments explain Parker’s position, taken at face value, succinctly. He’s employing one of the creationists’ favorites, the argument from personal incredulity — which can be considered a sub-set of the argument from ignorance.

    If we don’t take Parker’s comments at face value, OTOH, he’s likely just staying in the character of reflexive contrarian.

    Is there enough evidence to distinguish between those two possiblities?

  166. #166 GeorgeFromNY
    April 25, 2010

    Islamophobia is a special subset of racism, similar to antisemitism directed against Jews. The race, culture, and religion become thoroughly entangled; and it’s not like either of them fears the white suburban american convert; they fear the brown muslim from the desert.

    For shame, Jadehawk. What arrant nonsense.

    Have you ever, in your entire life, rebuked anyone as “Christophobic?” What about “Fascistophobic?”

    No? Why not? Because it wouldn’t make a lick of sense. Those are belief systems; sets of ideas and practices. They exist, and may be judged, wholly apart from those who adhere to them. It’s the same with Islam.

    The term “Islamophobia” was coined by sharia apologists themselves, seeking to shield their creed from inquiry and criticism by equating opposition to it with race hatred.

    Have you read Lenin? This is a classic tactic. Pose as a persecuted, vulnerable minority. Evoke sympathy. Plaintively demand ‘tolerance’, fairness, etc. Assure everyone that there’s nothing to worry about, that any concerns about you are illusory (phobic, even) and that your critics are wicked or unhinged. Put your best face forward. .. and wait until you’re in a position to make the new rules.

    You are singing from a hymnal without even knowing it, J.

    PS – Culture and religion ARE thoroughly entangled. You can’t have a thousand years of a given religion – whichever it is – without it infusing your culture. Muslims themselves speak of “Islamic culture” all the time.

  167. #167 scooterKPFT
    April 25, 2010

    I’m getting tired of this sympathy for cartoonists. I get death threats on the phone at KPFT at least once a month and the proprietor of this blog may have the world record for death threats, so in conclusion, who gives a fuck about death threats? What makes T-P death threats so special?

    Death threats

    pffff

    bring it on

  168. #168 John Morales
    April 25, 2010

    Scooter, might it be that death threats are threatening to the degree that they are credible?

  169. #169 scooterKPFT
    April 25, 2010

    John @ 168

    The evidence shows that there have been an average of two violent attacks on KPFT a year over our forty years on the air, with police reports filed.

    Our transmitter has been dynamited twice, and we took an AK 47 round into our control room recently.

    No evidence of Comedy Central attacks have been made public.

    I’m just responding to what happens in the real world, and thought that maybe people should wake up to the fact that redneck fucktards kill people in the US, not make-believe stuff you hear on TV.

    I’m sure T-P will be fine, they can hire security if need be.

    But I’ll still be a sitting duck for wingnuts, not to mention our squidley overlord

    For more information about getting a military round into your local leftist radio station right past your head:

    Please listen: It’s for real:

    http://acksisofevil.org/audio/inner149.mp3

  170. #170 Andyo
    April 26, 2010

    So, scooter, you’re saying that nobody should get sympathy, or that only people threatened by rednecks should get sympathy?

  171. #171 John Morales
    April 26, 2010

    Hey, Scooter, just listened to your linked episode.

    Yikes!

    I find your ‘tude impressive, after listening to that. Not sure I’d have the cojones, myself.

  172. #172 David Marjanovi?
    April 26, 2010

    a logical fallacy you could drive a truck full of Hindu gods through

    LOL!

    I’ll side with religious retards before nationalist imperialist Americans any day

    These tend to be the same people.

    and it’s not like either of them fears the white suburban american convert

    I bet such converts to Islam are widely feared as people who have gone crazy and joined a scary cult, if not as defectors to the side of the terrrists (only genuine with the triple r).

    Speaking of terrorists, with Hitchens they have won ? he is in terror.

    Have you ever, in your entire life, rebuked anyone as “Christophobic?” What about “Fascistophobic?”

    I don’t think she has, and I haven’t, but… there’s no wave of fascist immigration anywhere; that part of your analogy fails.

    Phobia of Christians does exist in countries where Christians are small minorities. For instance, Iraq has had a stable Christian minority since before Islam arrived, but almost all Christians have fled the country in and after 2003, because they’re collectively suspected of collaborating with the USA.

    (The Christians of Iraq don’t look different from the Muslims, but do speak their own dialect of Arabic. So did the Jews before they all moved to Israel.)

    Here in Austria, and in Germany, Islamophobia is almost entirely a part of xenophobia against Turkish immigrants and their descendants; it didn’t exist before the immigrants arrived. In France, Algerian/Moroccan/Tunisian immigrants are in the same position.

    The term “Islamophobia” was coined by sharia apologists themselves, seeking to shield their creed from inquiry and criticism by equating opposition to it with race hatred.

    Accusations of antisemitism, usually bogus, are regularly used by right-wing political parties of Israel to bludgeon critics with. That doesn’t mean that antisemitism doesn’t exist.

  173. #173 NineInchNall
    April 26, 2010

    Meh. If you hadn’t figured out by this point that Matt & Trey don’t think that the Fallacy Of The Golden Mean is a fallacy, then I don’t know what to say. This is yet more evidence that their modus operandi is to take the most middle-road position in everything.

    Thus we see mockery of organized religion combined while praising religion’s utility. (see the Mormon episode)

    It’s irritating, but once you accept that Matt & Trey either can’t (or choose not to) avoid simply taking the middle ground, you can ignore their minor retardation and just enjoy the humor.

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