How not to win an argument.

I know that dealing with ignorant people who cling to long disproven ideas can be frustrating — this blog is full of examples of such tribulations — but this is not the proper way to win an argument over whether or not the Earth is flat:

Police, firefighters called in after flat Earth debate turns heated – Ottawa – CBC News.

Police said a 56-year-old Brockville man was at a campsite with his son and his son’s girlfriend when the woman began insisting that the Earth is flat.

The older man insisted the Earth is round.

It’s not clear if anyone at the campfire put forth the argument that the Earth’s equatorial bulge makes it not perfectly round, but instead a shape known as an oblate spheroid.

Nevertheless, police said the man became so enraged he began throwing objects into the campfire, including a propane cylinder.
flat-earth-sign

While I can appreciate how an exploding propane filter could act as an exclamation point to your well-reasoned debate, it’s still a stupidly dangerous thing to do and calls into question your own intelligence in spite of the fact that you’re technically correct about the generally spheroid shape of the planet. In short, don’t do that.

Also, I thought Canadians were supposed to be polite to a fault? Talk about shattering a stereotype in the worst possible way.

Rush Limbaugh doesn’t understand how evolution works.

If you’ve been reading SEB for any amount of time then it probably doesn’t need to be said that my politics don’t line up with Rush Limbaugh’s politics. It’s also probably obvious that I think that Rush has said some amazingly stupid things over the years, but I’ve never thought the man was particularly uneducated. That’s probably as much due to the fact that I try to limit my exposure to his rantings as much as possible than it is him actually being educated.

On Tuesday during a segment about the kid falling into the gorilla enclosure in Cincinnati, Rush demonstrated his scientific ignorance of the Theory of Evolution. The folks at Media Matters captured his idiocy in all its glory:

“A lot of people think that all of us used to be apes. Don’t doubt me on this. A lot of people think that all of us used to be gorillas.”

headdeskOK, let’s stop right here. There’s more, but this is all you really need to realize that Rush has no clue what he’s talking about. Humans did not evolve from apes, or chimps, or gorillas. We are a kind of ape ourselves. We share a common primate ancestor (Homo-Pan) and have travelled different evolutionary paths starting around 6 to 7 million years ago. Either Rush is ignorant of what the theory of evolution says or he’s intentionally setting up a strawman. Based on what he says next I’d wager it’s the former.

“And they’re looking for the missing link out there. The evolution crowd. They think we were originally apes.”

The problem with the “missing link” is that there is no missing link. Evolution isn’t a matter of sharp delineations. It’s a matter of gradual differences. There is not, nor will there ever be, a fossil find that we can point to and definitely say that is the exact moment we stopped being Homo heidelbergensis and started being Homo sapiens. Reality is messy and doesn’t give a shit about fitting things into obvious categories. People like Rush don’t like that fact so they try to ignore it.

Here is his pièce de résistance. The statement that clearly shows his complete lack of understanding of evolutionary theory:

“I’ve always — if we were the original apes, then how come Harambe is still an ape, and how come he didn’t become one of us?”

First, we’re not the “original apes.” As I said before, we share a common ancestor. Secondly, had Harambe spontaneously evolved into a human it would invalidate evolutionary theory as well as a number of laws of physics.

To be fair, it’s not clear if Rush is suggesting that if evolution was real that Harambe would’ve evolved into a human in the time he was in the zoo or if he’s using the old argument of “If we evolved from apes why are there still apes?” Not that it matters, both would reveal his ignorance of what the theory of evolution actually says.

This isn’t rocket science. It’s really not that hard to understand the theory of evolution if you take the time to actually read up on it. There are a number of books that lay it out in layman’s terms and provide quite a bit of the evidence that back the theory up. A good one is The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins. It’s one I think Rush Limbaugh should probably read. He won’t, but he should.

You can hear Limbaugh’s words for yourself below:

Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: BBQ Pet edition.

christianassholesThere’s a lot of fucked up shit in the Bible. Things like incest, murder, rape, and animal sacrifice to name just a few. In fact, that last one shows up quite a lot in the Old Testament. There was a time when God really loved the smell of a freshly slaughtered animal on a pyre, but for the most part Christians stopped sacrificing animals after Jesus came along.

Apparently 42-year-old Patrick Zane Thompson in Arizona didn’t get that memo:

Investigators spoke with Thompson’s family, including his daughter and wife. When Thompson went back into the house, they say he got more erratic and told his family, in front of his four minor children, that he needed to make a sacrifice of a male.

According to the victims, Thompson stated it had to be either himself, his firstborn 6-year-old son or the family dog — a small, white poodle weighing about 15 pounds. That’s when the family tried to escape the home but Thompson was able to grab hold of the dog. Investigators say the family pleaded with Thompson not to hurt the dog.

But the situation got more gruesome. Goodyear police say Thompson admitted to then breaking the dog’s neck and strangling it until it “could not breathe.” He allegedly told officers the sacrifice was not done and that he had to put the dog in a “lake of fire.” Court documents say he then told them that he put the dog in the heating element of the smoker, which was turned on.

Oh yeah, I’m sure God’s loving the smell of smoked poodle. That’s gotta be a refreshing change from all those lambs and cows and shit he got in the past. Plus it’s been so long.

So what was the sin that prompted Mr. Thompson to offer up his only poodle to his Lord and Saviour? Why, only one of the most horrific things you’ve ever heard of:

Detectives investigated further and learned that shortly after returning home, Thompson became upset with a shirt that his 17-year-old daughter had. Investigators said he believed the shirt had to do with the devil. That paperwork says Thompson made his daughter take the shirt and go with him to a large BBQ traveler that’s parked in a side yard. The smoker was lit and police report that Thompson put the shirt in the trailer, burning it.

The article doesn’t say what the T-shirt had on it that was so terrible, but I’m sure it was something like “I’m with stupid.” or “I love One Direction.” You know, really evil stuff.

But hey, you can’t judge this guy! He was only doing what he truly believed his God wanted him to do. He was sure calamity was about to befall his family unless he took immediate action. Of course, he was also high as a kite at the time, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t save his family with his quick thinking. God can be pretty fucking demanding! Just read the Bible and you’ll see that for yourself. At least he didn’t opt to use his 6-year-old son instead, right? Can’t say that about Abraham and his kid. I bet if Abraham had had a poodle God wouldn’t have stopped him just before he completed the act. Smoked poodle is delicacy in some places.

Yet another reason why Christians are seen as the bad guys.

andthentheresthisassholeBack in 2009, Decrepit Old Fool wrote an entry for SEB about his discussion with a Christian minister who asked why Christians are seen as the bad guys. It’s a topic I’ve used several times since then, but I’ve not hit upon it in awhile. There’s enough Christians out there giving themselves a bad name that I could almost make it the sole topic of every entry and never run out of material and that gets old fast. Yet every now and then I run across an example that is so egregious that I just can’t help but put it on display.

Meet “God Warrior” Marguerite Perrin who has taken it upon herself to warn the blissfully ignorant shoppers at her local Target of the dangers dwelling in the store’s bathrooms:

It’s bad enough she decided to make an ass out of herself in public, but did she really have to drag her poor kids along with her? I love how the teen on her left spends most of the video looking down at his phone so as to avoid making eye contact with anyone. She didn’t accomplish anything with this nonsense other than perhaps alarming a few folks that a crazy lady was loose in the store.

You wanna know why Christians are often seen as the bad guys? This woman right here is a good example.

Alberta couple who let son die of meningitis found guilty.

David and Collet Stephans

David and Collet Stephans

Back in 2012 an Alberta, Canada couple were brought up on charges of “failing to provide the necessaries of life” after their 19-month old son died of meningitis. It seems David Stephan and his wife Collet don’t believe in traditional medicine and instead insisted on using home remedies to cure what they thought was a case of the flu or croup even though a family friend who is a nurse said it was likely meningitis.

Their case finally went to trial in March of this year:

In a bid to boost his immune system, the couple gave the boy — who was lethargic and becoming stiff — various home remedies, such as water with maple syrup, juice with frozen berries and finally a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horse radish root, hot peppers, mashed onion, garlic and ginger root as his condition deteriorated.

Court heard the couple on tape explaining to the police officer that they prefer naturopathic remedies because of their family’s negative experiences with the medical system.

It took having their son stop breathing to get them to call for an ambulance. He was airlifted to a local hospital and put on life support for 5 days until it was clear he wasn’t going to recover. He suffered for two and a half weeks before he stopped breathing. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that David works for a  nutritional supplements company.

Yesterday the jury came back with a guilty verdict:

The four-man, eight-woman jury had been deliberating since Monday afternoon. There was a gasp in the courtroom as the decision from the jurors came down. Observers in the courtroom’s gallery started to cry.

The defence argued the couple were loving, responsible parents who simply didn’t realize how sick the little boy was.

The Crown said the Stephans didn’t do enough to ensure Ezekiel received the medical help he needed. The prosecution noted that the Stephans had been warned by a friend who was a registered nurse that the boy probably had meningitis.

The maximum penalty for failing to provide the necessaries of life is five years in prison.

Normally in cases of parents letting their sick kids die rather than getting them medical attention it’s due to religious reasons and often the parents get off because of that. I’m not sure if it’s because this is Canada or the fact that the reasoning these folks used was not religious in nature that they ended up being convicted, but it makes for a refreshing change of pace. Sentencing hasn’t been announced yet, but with any luck they’ll get the maximum to give them time to reconsider some of their deeply held beliefs.

I’m often asked what’s the harm in letting people hold onto their ignorance. This is a prime example of said harm. Alas it’s often their kids who end up suffering the consequences of that ignorance.

Jimmy Kimmel pokes fun at YouTube Gaming. Gamers freak the fuck out.

Last Friday comedian Jimmy Kimmel — host of Jimmy Kimmel Live! — did a bit on his late night talk show about YouTube’s recent unveiling of YouTube Gaming. For those of you who are not aging gamers like myself, YouTube Gaming is Google’s attempt to take on Twitch, a site that allows gamers to live stream themselves playing video games. YouTube already has a pretty big video gaming community of players who post videos of them playing/critiquing/trolling and/or otherwise spending way too much time playing video games with PewDiePie being not only the most popular gamer making videos, but the most popular person on YouTube as a whole. YouTube Gaming allows you to organize all of those offerings in one spot as well as provides a streaming platform for games to compete with Twitch.

Anyway, Kimmel’s bit was about how he just doesn’t understand why anyone would sit and watch videos of other people playing video games. He compared it to being like going to a restaurant and watching someone eat his food for him. Here’s the bit:

Now I’m not unsympathetic to Jimmy’s argument. I wrote about the trend back when it was first getting started and I was amazed there were that many people out there content to watch someone else play a video game.

However, that was years ago and the folks making videos have evolved over that time such that it’s not just about watching someone else play video games. PewDiePie is probably the best example of this as his videos tend to be entertaining not because he’s so good at the games he plays, but because he’s goofy as fuck while playing them. There’s also been the rise of MOBAs like League of Legends and DOTA 2 that involve quite a bit of strategy as well as skill and can draw crowds that rival any major sporting event. It’s no longer just watching some other random dude play a game, though there’s plenty of that out there for those who are into that.

Personally, I don’t watch much of that sort of thing though I’ll indulge in the occasional video put out by Tony “Tobuscus” Turner on his gaming channel because, frankly, he’s an amusing idiot. I also watch videos by Drift0r and TmarTn for tips on Call of Duty class builds and strategies. So I can relate to both sides of the argument.

What I can’t relate to is the ridiculously vitriolic reaction from some parts of the gaming community to the light-ribbing Jimmy Kimmel gave YouTube Gaming. It’s been so bad that Kimmel has covered it on two different nights on his show. Check it:

Holy shit, what the fuck is wrong with you people?

While I’m sure most of that is hot air, there’s still no excuse for wishing fatal diseases on the man just because you didn’t like his comments about watching other people play video games. And there’s certainly no reason to imply you’re going to put a fucking bomb in his car and that you’re going to do terrible things to his wife and daughter.

And it’s not just Kimmel. Video game developers regularly get death threats when they make changes to their games to try and balance things out. It’s doubly bad if you’re a woman in the video game industry and don’t even think of being a Feminist trying to critique video games.

It’s tempting to suggest that this is just the perils of having a hobby that also includes way too many 12-year-old kids who shouldn’t be on the Internet unsupervised, but then you look at the profiles for a lot of these assholes and you realize this isn’t just a bunch of kids trying to look mature by being dickheads. It’s a bunch of adult assholes who really should know better by now. You want to know why people still look down on you when you say you’re a gamer? This is why.

I’ve been playing video games since the days of the original Atari 2600 and I love this hobby. Some of my best friends are people I’ve only known over the Internet, chatting through a headset while shooting up zombies or blasting away at Nazis or working together to take down a dragon. As an older gamer* I feel a bit of responsibility to tell you fucks to stop being so fucking butthurt over someone else not understanding your hobby and poking fun at it.

Your enjoyment is not dependent on Jimmy Kimmel understanding why you like to watch others play video games. You certainly shouldn’t be making death threats just because you’re not happy with something he (or anyone else) said about it.

(*As a side note, it’s really kind of weird to learn that I’m a couple months older than Jimmy Kimmel. He’ll turn 48 in November. I’m not used to being older than the hosts of popular late-night talk shows.)

Dave Daubenmire can’t resist the porn so he thinks we should ban it all.

I hear you asking: Who the fuck is Dave Daubenmire? He’s another Bible Thumper who made a name for himself by being sued by the ACLU. Seems he used to be a high school football coach who had a tendency of coercing the kids he was coaching into praying which brought on the lawsuit back in the late 90s. After settling the case he decided to leave behind his career as a high school coach to become a Coach for Team God. Not a bad decision as far as future athletes at his high school are concerned. Since then he’s attracted a bit of a following with a number of YouTube videos and setting up his own ministry called, get this, Pass the Salt Ministries. Think of him as a less popular version of Joe the Plumber.

Anyway, he caught my attention with a recent YouTube video he did for NewsWithViews.tv in which be bemoaned being tempted by pornography while surfing on the Internet and decides we need to recriminalize it:

There was almost a coherent argument in that little rant. He starts off by talking about how he was minding his own business on the Internet when a popup window suddenly appeared with an ad for a porn site and he was strongly tempted to click on it. He doesn’t say if he did click on it, just that it’s one of the greatest temptations in all of society. He then tries to explain why he thinks we should criminalize porn. As near as I can tell, his argument is that because we are a “rational people” we want to ban smoking and guns and drunk driving and bullying so we should also ban porn because he feels it’s more dangerous than all of those things combined.

That’s about the extent of his argument, though he does try to use shame to convince you it’s legit. He wonders aloud on just how many people in any given business or church are regular consumers of porn and marvels at what a “dark, dark secret” it is. He goes on to say:

“It’s nothing that anyone likes to own up to. Nobody likes to talk about the fact that they’re looking at pornography because we know this, don’t we, that the end result of pornography in most cases when men in particular are looking at pornography it ends up in, what, masturbation. No man wants to talk about that. No man is proud to say that he does that.” 

I don’t have a problem talking about it. I occasionally watch porn with masturbation being the whole point of doing so. There’s not a whole lot of other reasons to watch porn. The acting is pretty terrible, the story all but non-existent, no real special effects to speak of in the majority of it. Some of it can be pretty funny, sometimes even intentionally so, but not enough to make that a reason to watch it. The simple truth is that my libido and my wife’s occasionally don’t sync up and I have a choice. I can make myself into a royal pain in the ass trying to get her to engage in sexy time or I can go blow off some steam with a little porn. Am I proud of it? Never really occurred to me that it’s something to be — or not be — proud of. I don’t advertise the fact that I watch porn mainly because I don’t think anyone really is interested in whether I watch porn, but I don’t consider it a dark secret that I won’t own up to.

“Coach” goes on to claim that porn is “laying waste to this land” and destroying families and careers and, oh my goodness, our young people! He doesn’t elaborate on how, exactly, it’s doing this. He just tosses the claim out there and expects you to accept it as true. I can’t speak for anyone else, but so far it hasn’t ruined my family or career, but then I have managed to develop halfway decent impulse control as I’ve gotten older. To borrow a turn of phrase from the gun nuts: Porn doesn’t destroy people. People destroy people.

So, in summary, his entire argument seems to be: I was tempted to look at porn and I have bad self-control so I think we should ban it. Perhaps “Coach” would do well to install any of the dozens of porn filter applications on his computer that’ll block any websites that might contain temptation inducing naughtiness from his system? Or maybe he needs to hang out on a better class of website that doesn’t accept porn ads. It’s very rare that I have a popup for a porn site show up on my system, but then I don’t tend to frequent sites that are likely to accept those kinds of ads. If I see pon on my screen it’s because I went straight to it.

At the start of the video he says that what he’s about to say “…may seem really radical to ya…” and it’s really not because it’s not a new idea. Porn was banned for a long time and people were prosecuted for both making it and consuming it. Technically it still is illegal in many places as none of the laws have been removed from the books as far as I’m aware. Enforcement is rare because that’s easier than the political process of revoking the laws, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t used on occasion or couldn’t be used again in the future. The truth is: Much like alcohol and (increasingly) recreational drug use, banning it doesn’t seem to abate people’s desire to partake of it.

You were right when you said it was a “supply and demand” problem. What you don’t understand is that getting rid of the supply side won’t do anything to eliminate the demand for it. And when there’s enough demand there will always be someone willing to provide it no matter what the risks.

Family of armed robber pissed suspect was shot by good samaritan.

Sometimes I’m amazed by the utter gall of my fellow humans. Take, for example, this news report about some idiot named Adric White who decided a dollar store would make a good target for an armed robbery down in Alabama and his resultant gunshot injury:

The Good Samaritan, who we are not identifying, told FOX10 News he was shopping at the Family Dollar on Stanton road when he noticed a masked gunman leading one of the employees to the front of the store.

“He had the gun to his head. He had him on his knees,” said the man. “I drew my gun on him and I said ‘Hey don’t move.’ At that point he swung around and before he had a chance to aim the gun at me I fired. I didn’t want to shoot him.”

This appears to be one of those rare cases where a Good Guy with a gun does manage to take down a Bad Guy with a gun possibly saving some lives in the process. I don’t buy into the idea that the solution to all gun crimes is more people with guns, but I acknowledge that occasionally it does work out well if someone nearby is armed and this definitely fits that bill.

The suspect survived the shooting and is under police custody at a local hospital. We already suspect he’s not too bright for thinking a dollar store was worth robbing . That suspicion is confirmed when we learn that he was out on bond after being charged in connection to another armed robbery at a local restaurant about a month earlier.  This guy is as dumb as a bag of rocks.

Apparently, stupidity is inherent to his gene pool:

A family member who did not want to be identified said White should have never been shot to begin with.

“If his (the customer) life was not in danger, if no one had a gun up to him, if no one pointed a gun at him – what gives him the right to think that it’s okay to just shoot someone?” said the relative. “You should have just left the store and went wherever you had to go in your car or whatever.”

I have two words for White’s anonymous family member: Fuck You.

8P72l5F

I’m a flat-out Liberal with a capital L, but even I think that if you or your loved ones are stupid enough to engage in an armed robbery and are threatening the lives and livelihoods of other people then you shouldn’t be surprised — let alone upset — if you get shot in the process.

I don’t carry a gun, but had I found myself in that situation where a gunman had a gun pointed at someone’s head and it was apparent the gunman wasn’t aware of my presence and I could see a way of coming up from behind and clocking him in the back of the head with whatever large, blunt object happened to be on hand you can be pretty sure I’d take the opportunity to give him a new opening in his skull. I wouldn’t try to kill him outright, but I’d make damn sure he wouldn’t be getting off the floor before the police arrived.

Your precious little snowflake lost any right to not be harmed the moment he threatened to harm someone else. If you’d rather he not be injured again then perhaps you should encourage him to find a more legitimate way to get his cash. There are certain occupational hazards that come with being an armed robber. Whining about him being shot just makes you look like a bigger idiot than he is.

Your kid’s elementary assembly is not the place to do a striptease.

In the right time and place getting up and doing a striptease for an audience can be a very liberating and exhilarating experience. In the middle of an elementary school assembly, however, probably isn’t the best choice.

But that didn’t stop 24-year-old Aydrea Meaders of Albany from giving it her best shot:

Police: Woman undressed in front of elementary school assembly – NEWS10 ABC

“It had been going as a terrific event. The cafeteria was full. We probably had about 200 students in there from throughout the school,” said Ron Lesko of the Albany School District.

The school district says Meaders joined in on the assembly – at first just dancing with the students.

“Wasn’t an expected part of the routine but she wasn’t doing anything inappropriate,” said Lesko.

But that’s when things quickly went in the wrong direction

“Suddenly she stepped to the front of the group threw off her coat and stripped from the waist up,” said Lesko.

Staff rushed the stage to protect the kids from seeing naked boobies which would undoubtedly scar them for life and Ms. Meaders was arrested and charged with seven counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child and one count of Public Lewdness.

The article doesn’t say what her motivation was or if she was drunk or high at the time. It could just be that she works up one helluva sweat dancing and finds that dancing topless is the best way to moderate her body temperature. Even so, the potential corrupting influence of naked tits is too much of a risk to allow to go unpunished.

Jack in the Box heiress blows $1 billion gambling over 9 years.

gamblingcatI can admit that the main reason I’m not fabulously wealthy is because in many ways I’m a bit of a screw up. Occasionally this realization makes me a little sad, but the next time it does I can comfort myself with the knowledge that I’m not this much of a screw up:

San Diego ex-mayor used charity funds to cover gambling debts – latimes.com.

SAN DIEGO — She married a fabulously wealthy man decades her elder, and became the first female mayor of San Diego. But when Maureen O’Connor left public life, she spent countless hours seated in front of video-poker machines.

Over a nine-year period, she wagered an estimated $1 billion, including millions from a charity set up by her late husband, who founded Jack in the Box.

That was the portrait that emerged in court Thursday as the frail former mayor tearfully acknowledged she skimmed more than $2 million from a charity founded by her late husband, Robert O. Peterson.

When my father-in-law took me gambling for the first time last year we went with a budget of $300 and I had a hard time with the knowledge that we were risking $300*. I can’t begin to fathom coming anywhere close to wagering a billion dollars.

She obviously has a gambling addiction problem, but it’s still hard to conceive how should get let herself get to the point of blowing her fortune and then stealing from her late husband’s charity without ever once thinking that maybe she might have a problem she needs help with.

I don’t mean to criticize or condemn this lady over this. I’m only writing about it because it so boggles my mind to even think about that writing it down is the only way I can deal with it. There are so many other things I’d be doing if I had that kind of money at my disposal and I probably still wouldn’t come close to ever spending it all.

* We left the casino with $50 more than what we walked in with. Which was enough to convince me I shouldn’t press my luck by ever going again.