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Topics I've Started

why are so many atheists retarded in the modern era?

17 December 2014 - 02:14 PM

deep thoughts for the deep thinkers here in the tinderbox


p.s. ron paul '16 allahu akbar imo

Apartheid America (it's not quite what you think read the OP tia)

04 December 2014 - 01:11 PM




Consider these two astounding facts: “The United States incarcerates a higher proportion of blacks than apartheid South Africa did. In America, the black-white wealth gap today is greater than it was in South Africa in 1970 at the peak of apartheid.”

This quote comes from Nicholas Kristof, who has been publishing a series in The New York Times under the title “When Whites Just Don’t Get It.” In an earlier column in the series, Kristof points out that whites in South Africa owned 15 times more than blacks in 1970s, while the current ratio for the United States is 18 to 1.

In the context of the last 50 years, the statistics look even starker. According to a set of charts the Washington Post published last year on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s“I Have a Dream” speech, the gap between whites and blacks has either remained the same or has gotten worse over the last half century. The gap in household income, the ratio of unemployment, and the number of children going to segregated schools have all remained roughly the same. The disparity in incarceration rates has gotten worse.

U.S. scholars have used the term “apartheid” to refer to specific historical periods (such as the era of Jim Crow), the residential segregation that existed for decades, the educational segregation that persists, and a criminal justice system that is so often criminal in its lack of justice. But can we apply the label of “apartheid” to all of American society?

South Africa got rid of apartheid. Although it remains more sharply divided economically than virtually any other major country, the end of apartheid did spur the growth of the black middle class, which expanded from 300,000 people to 3 million, with blacks rising from 11 percent to 41 percent of the overall middle class in 20 years.

But in the United States, very little has changed in five decades. The higher echelons of the African American community have done reasonably well, but not the middle class or the working poor. Since 1970, the percentage of African Americans in the middle class has actually declined. And the depression that hit the country after 2007 wiped out whatever gains this middle class might have achieved.

The media is full of pictures of Obama and Oprah, of Condoleezza and Susan Rice, of Serena Williams and Will Smith. Their omnipresence suggests that America is far from an apartheid society. And yet, for all their power and prominence, they are the outliers.


i would first like to head off any semantic arguments by saying i understand that apartheid may not be the best way to describe the type of segregation seen in america due to both the divisiveness of the term as well as a few fundamental differences in american society and american law.


that being said, the debate over the presence of an institutionally segregated society in the US seems to center on presence of equal opportunity (or lack thereof) and the idea of social darwinism. this is a thread in which we can discuss how segregation is or isn't codified into law today. how poor minorities simply choose to lead lives with poor outcomes. how self segregation explains poor minority neighborhoods and rich white neighborhoods. how a cultural commitment to crime explains incarceration disparities. this is of course not unlike many other threads, so i am going to add a degree of difficulty by asking contributors to provide foundational evidence for their claims. statements like "all politicians are actually in the klan" and "people want to be with people they look like" are totally worthless without some sort of support. take me through the process that allowed you to reach the conclusions you have reached. thank you for your time and god bless

New Atheism, Old Empire

03 December 2014 - 12:37 PM

this article touches on p much every criticism i've had of the 'new atheist' movement, most notably that 'new atheism' provides intellectual cover for imperialism and gross violations of human rights. i'm posting this bc it uncovers characteristics and goals shared by the right wing and liberal posters here while breaking up the monotony of "poster says racist thing and then spends pages defending himself from accusations of racism"



At face value, and by its own understanding, New Atheism is a reinvigorated incarnation of the Enlightenment scientism found in the work of thinkers like Bacon and Descartes: a critical discourse that subjects religious texts and traditions to rational scrutiny by way of empirical inquiry and defends universal reason against the forces of provincialism.

In practice, it is a crude, reductive, and highly selective critique that owes its popular and commercial success almost entirely to the “war on terror” and its utility as an intellectual instrument of imperialist geopolitics.

Whereas some earlier atheist traditions have rejected violence and championed the causes of the Left — Bertrand Russell, to take an obvious example, was both a socialist and a unilateralist — the current streak represented by Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris has variously embraced, advocated, or favorably contemplated: aggressive war, state violence, the curtailing of civil liberties, torture, and even, in the case of the latter, genocidal preemptive nuclear strikes against Arab nations.



In The End of Faith, for example, he argues: “Islam, more than any other religion human beings have devised, has all the makings of a thoroughgoing cult of death.” Elsewhere, he writes: “While the other major world religions have been fertile sources of intolerance, it is clear that the doctrine of Islam poses unique problems for the emergence of a global civilization.” And, while defending the Iraq War as a humane, civilizing mission: “We are not at war with terrorism. We are at war with Islam.

While Harris’s views are undoubtedly the most strident, there is certainly overlap with Hitchens and Dawkins. In a 2007 interview, Hitchens argued: “If you ask what is wrong with Islam, it makes the same mistake as [other] religions, but it makes another mistake, which is that it’s unalterable. You notice how liberals keep saying, ‘If only Islam would have a Reformation’ – it can’t have one. It says it can’t. It’s extremely dangerous in that way.

In addition to the blatant chauvinism of such a statement, it is not a remotely accurate historical claim and is arguably hypocritical, even on its own terms. Islamic fundamentalism — which no one, incidentally, believes to be a fiction — is insidious not because of its adherence to some ossified medieval tradition, but rather because of its eager and effective embrace of modernist dynamism.



Not to be outdone, Richard Dawkins has called Islam “the greatest force for evil today” (in the same breath, rather amusingly, as admitting he’s never bothered to read the Koran). At other times Dawkins has beeneven more vulgar, tweeting: “For me, the horror of Hitler is matched by bafflement at the ovine stupidity of his followers. Increasingly feel the same about Islamism” and inferring that then-New Statesman columnist Mehdi Hassan is unqualified to be a journalist because he is also a Muslim. Or, to take yet another example, “All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.”

For the New Atheists, then, all religions are equally bad — but Islam is more equally bad.



The politics of the leading New Atheist thinkers are not uniform. Dawkins opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, while Harris and Hitchens were some of its leading apologists. Harris defends torture as an ethical necessity in the “war on terror” while Hitchens, who was voluntarily subjected to waterboarding, did not. Both Hitchens and Harris have been prone to bellicose outbursts of violent, almost bloodthirsty rhetoric, which cannot be said of Dawkins.

Nevertheless, all are united by several common intellectual threads. Each espouses a binary worldview that pits a civilized, cosmopolitan, and progressive West against a barbaric, monistic, and reactionary East. Though varied in their political positions, Harris, Hitchens, and Dawkins have all had very public dalliances with the Right, expressing either overt sympathy for, or enthusiastic endorsement of, some of its most vile and disreputable elements.

Each is outwardly a cultural liberal who primarily addresses liberal audiences — “respectable” to blue-state metropolitans and their equivalents elsewhere in ways Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh never could be — while embracing positions and causes that are manifestly illiberal in the commonly understood sense of the term.

Beneath its many layers of intellectual adornment — the typical New Atheist text is laden with maudlin references to Darwin, Newton, and Galileo — we find a worldview intimately familiar to anyone who has studied the language of empires past: culturally supremacist, essentializing and othering towards the foreign, equal parts patronizing and paternalistic, and legitimating of the violence committed for its own ends.




Some form of benign dictatorship will generally be necessary … But benignity is the key and if it cannot emerge from within a state, it must be imposed from without. The means of such imposition are necessarily crude: they amount to economic isolation, military intervention (whether open or covert), or some combination of both. (Harris, 2004)




Even if this weren’t the case, the sordid subtext of these remarks is confirmed by Harris’s favorable treatment of far-right figures, who speak openly of the demographic dangers posed by Muslims. In Letter to a Christian Nation, Harris makes his sympathies explicit, declaring: “With a few exceptions, the only public figures who have had the courage to speak honestly about the threat that Islam now poses to European societies seem to be fascists.”



Harris, Hitchens, and Dawkins have all rejected the notion that there is anything racist about statements of this kind or the prescriptions that so often follow from them: “Muslims aren’t a race,” being by now a particularly worn phrase in the New Atheist rhetorical repertoire. Harris and Hitchens have also dismissed the term “Islamophobia” as a tool for silencing their arguments. According to the latter: “A stupid term – Islamophobia – has been put into circulation to try and suggest that a foul prejudice lurks behind any misgivings about Islam’s infallible ‘message.’”

Given that “race” is an entirely social construct, with a history that involves the systemic racialization of various national, ethnic, and religious minorities, this defense is extremely flimsy. The excessive focus on Islam as something at once monolithic and exceptionally bad, whose backwards followers need to have their rights in democratic societies suppressed and their home countries subjected to a Western-led civilizing process, cannot be called anything other than racist.


anyway the point is there are several atheists here who both consider themselves liberal and yet have no issue citing dawkins, hitchens or, most troubling, harris in defense of what the author of this essay terms "manifestly illiberal" positions. while i know cat is under a self-imposed tinderbox ban due to the amount of racism that's tolerated on this forum, i would like to hear a response from her or others who tend to look at the new atheist movement in a favorable light so that i may better understand how one could accept the words of harris and dawkins while still professing to be "liberal" or "progressive"


(for more examples of these 'new atheists' crossing over into neoconservatism and fascism, click here)

naacp to release new developments in lennon lacy death

18 November 2014 - 03:26 AM




Speculation has surrounded Lacy's deathever since the news of his death came to light, and the NAACP has been there to help bring more attention to it.

On Tuesday Lacy's family, attorneys, and Reverend Barber will meet with the US Attorney from the Eastern District to discuss new developments including potential suspects and a new interpretation of the autopsy done by another medical examiner, according to NAACP community Coordinator Tom Wolf.

The news conference will be held Tuesday in Raleigh, and we will bring you a live report tomorrow afternoon on WECT News at 5 and 6 and online as the new developments unfold.


the tl;dr of the story is a 17 year old black kid from bladenboro (or "crackertown" apparently) was found dead hanging from a swing set near his home with scratches to his face and a knot on his forehead. anyway the police p much treated it like a suicide while the family and the naacp naturally reacted to the "strange fruit" imagery with suspicion. 


it's an interesting story given the dynamics at play in this little shithole town so im just gonna pick out some of the more interesting parts of the piece the guardian did on this suicide or murder




Brimhall’s close friend, Teresa Edwards, lives a few doors down from the Lacys. Edwards said that she was desperate to find out the truth, particularly as Lacy was such a good person. “For him to be black – I’m not stereotyping or anything, I’m not racist, I love everybody – but he was a very well-mannered child.





A white couple, Carla Hudson and Dewey Sykes, live in a trailer home right behind the Lacy house. Soon after Lennon died his family learned that a few years ago Sykes and Hudson had been instructed by police to remove from their front lawn a number of Confederate flags and signs saying “Niggers keep out”. 

The Guardian asked the couple why they had put up the signs. Sykes said that it was his idea. “There were some kids who ganged up on our kid and I put some signs up.” Asked whether he now regretted doing so, he replied: “Yeah, I regret it now.”


hahaha "yeah i regret it now that recent events have somehow made me look like an even bigger piece of poo"




Carla Hudson said she had begged her husband to take the signs down. “I told him he had to stop that. It wasn’t how I saw things – there’s not a racist bone in my body.”


"there's not a racist bone in my body" says the woman who lives with and fugs dewey "n*****s keep out" sykes




The family have many other questions that they still want answered. Who desecrated Lennon Lacy’s grave a few days after the burial, dumping the flowers 40 feet away beside the road and digging a hole in one corner of the plot? Why didn’t forensic investigators take swabs from under Lacy’s fingernails and DNA test them to see if he had been in physical contact with anybody else before he died? 


these seem like reasonable concerns




Have the police probed deeply enough into Lacy’s wider group of friends and acquaintances; the family were disturbed to find, for instance, that one white associate of Lennon’s had a Confederate flag as the backdrop to his Facebook page.


whoa there stop the presses! dewey "n*****s keep out" sykes associates with the type of hicks that have a boner for the treasonous slavers formerly known as the confederacy and currently known as




For several months before he died, he was also in a relationship with a white woman, Michelle Brimhall, who lives directly opposite the Lacy family home. The liaison with Brimhall raised eyebrows because, at 31, she was almost twice his age. (The age of consent in North Carolina is 16.)

“Everybody was going on to me because he was 17 and I am 31,” Brimhall told the Guardian. “We told people we weren’t seeing each other so they would stop giving us trouble.”




The Lacy family said that Brimhall had split up with Lacy a couple of weeks before he died and that she had a new boyfriend. But she denied that. “We were still together, I did not break up with him,” she said. “I had never had a man treated me as good as he did, and I probably will never find another.”





Then there were those facial marks on his body. Even the undertaker, FW Newton Jr, who has worked as a mortician for 26 years, was taken aback by what he saw.

Newton told the Guardian that when he received Lacy’s body two days after he died, he was struck by the abrasions he saw across both shoulders and down the insides of both arms. He also noted facial indentations over both cheeks, the chin and nose. Though police have told the Lacy family that ants were responsible for causing the marks, to Newton the state of the body reminded him of corpses he had embalmed where the deceased had been killed in a bar-room fight.




Lacy was found wearing a pair of size 10.5 white sneakers, with the laces removed, which no one in his family recognised. A few days before he died, he had bought himself a new pair of Jordans for the start of school year. They were grey with neon green soles, size 12, and have been missing ever since.



i think it's totally conceivable that an american teenager killed himself unexpectedly and the kid's family is desperate for someone to blame in order to avoid the pain that suicide causes. i also think that all of these relatively weird things could have happened in the case of a suicide (for example the kid had a knot on his head but surprise, he's a football player. he had scratches on his face but who knows maybe those were last second panic scratches) however, it would be a lot easier to stomach for ppl if a thorough investigation had been conducted in the aftermath. i know it's reflexive for some people to roll their eyes because the reverse racist race hustlers with the naacp are getting involved, but this is p weird and deserving of a second look. anyway i posted this in anticipation of whatever the naacp has to say later today and i will check back later. happy posting, tinderboxers

satan: dragon, serpent, defender of freedom

25 October 2014 - 06:11 AM




Secret Service have arrested a man who allegedly slammed his car Thursday night into a controversial Ten Commandments monument near the state capital building in Oklahoma City. The statue is now smashed to pieces.

Officials said the suspect, whose name has not been released, ran his car into the monument at about 9:00 p.m. Thursday night, reportedly saying that Satan made him do it. Oklahoma City’s KOCO news station reported that the suspect also threatened to kill President Barack Obama and said he urinated on the monument before knocking it over.


this is one of the reddest states in the country but it turns out the constitutional rights of oklahomans are best protected by the devil. while the devil and i disagree on several key points, i admire his commitment to the freedoms guaranteed to us all by the constitution

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