Thursday, November 11, 2010

Things to remember #2.

Nothing is free. If someone offers you something for free, there's a good chance they're trying to rob you.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I had a lucid dream

In my dream I was sitting at my dining room table facing the front hallway. My neighbor John came in with a cake. He greeted me and I suddenly realized that I was inside a dream. I said "Okay, I'm dreaming now."

Then the noise started.

It's a highly-pitched tone that gets steadily louder. It sounds like the ringing in your ears after a loud concert. This noise always heralds the arrival of horror.

Since I knew I was dreaming, I decided how to deal with this would be to escape. So I yanked myself out of the dream like hauling myself out of a pool.

I was once again in my bedroom and quite satisfied with myself.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'm only going to say this once. Part 2.


The phrase 'I'd hit it' is demeaning and misogynist. Women are not 'it', women are 'she'. No hitting. Stop conflating sex with violence.

Also, while I'm at it, don't flatter yourself. Just because your interest is piqued doesn't mean she'll be receptive.

Douchebag.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Profound Spiritual Experiences and Tricks Of The Brain

I was just listening to the podcast edition of the latest episode of The Atheist Experience. For those of you who don't know, The Atheist Experience is a call-in cable-access program that airs on a roughly weekly basis, hosted and sponsored by The Atheist Community of Austin (Texas). I was just listening to a caller, who sounded like a very nice but slightly ignorant lady talk about some profound spiritual experiences she had while in meditative states, and I thought I would share my own.

Yes, when I was around 20 or so I had a Profound Religious Experience. I had it while meditating. At the time I was meditating regularly every day, just settling my thoughts down and counting my breaths. It was very relaxing. A book about meditation that I owned offered a meditative exercise. I was to move from a meditative space right into talking to myself in my head. The book assured me that eventually I would start answering myself and that other voices would join in and I would be able to have a lively conversation with myself. Well, that did happen. There were at least three or four of us in there and then this demonically deep voice began growling at me in a language I couldn't understand! I was frightened and intrigued. I wanted to know what it had to say and who it was. I asked it to make itself understood and it only responded with the same arcane grunts and growls but it showed me images! Pictures entered my head! Fire. A volcano. Deep within the volcano, an embryo. I felt that the embryo was me and that I was safe in the volcano's womb.

I came out of it quickly, but couldn't stop thinking about it. What could it mean? Who was the voice? I had discovered something profound and spiritually significant and I couldn't wait to tell my friends about it. When I met up with my friends later I told one of them, a lady that I had a lot of respect for, and she shut me down in a way that I'm completely grateful for now. She suggested that my subconscious was giving me something to obsess over, something to hold my interest. There was no demon, or deep one, or elder god giving me secret messages, just my own brain trying to liven things up a bit.

That makes so much more sense than something otherworldly. No one has ever reliably seen a demon, or a god, or an angel, or any other such thing, but we have seen brains. Lots of them, and we know the power they have to generate woo.

Yours,

Christian Steenhorst-Baker

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Comparisons to the nazis are becoming dreary.


So I guess Pope Benedict is visiting Great Britain. Good for him, good for them, whatever. I've also heard that while he was there he met with a female pastor of the Church of England and had discussions on the reunification of the two churches. I sure hope that falls through. The one thing the Catholic church shouldn't have at this point is more power.

I've also heard that he gave a speech about militant atheists, us nasty atheists, and drew parallels between us and the nazis.

Really, Ratzinger? Really?

I mean, putting aside for a moment that Hitler clearly wasn't an atheist, and putting aside the fact that there is no over-arching atheist organization which may be considered culpable, and putting aside all the historical evidence for who Hitler was, what he wanted, what he did, what he might have done if he had had the chance, can we please talk about the modern day and our inability to stop evoking him?

Sometimes it seems like whenever a person runs out of solid, logical arguments, Hitler and the Nazis manifest. All you have to do is link someone's name to Hitler and that someone then has to distance himself from him, leaving the accuser to feel like he's scored a good point.

Can we stop this, please? Can we, just for a while, put this cheap shot to rest? Hitler did a lot of things, both malevolent and benign. He authorized and orchestrated the murders of millions of people. He also commissioned the autobahn and made sure the trains ran on time. Are we to avoid highways in general and the autobahn specifically lest we become linked to murderous anti-semites? Are we to petition railway lines to deliberately fail to meet their scheduled stops in a timely manner lest we somehow reap the benefits of the blood of the innocent on our hands? It's like Richard Dawkins said, Hitler also had a mustache. Shall we ban them?

Besides, this whole pronouncement was a bit hard to swallow coming from someone who was actually IN the Hitler Youth. Let me say that again. Ratzinger, when he was a wee lad, was in the Hitler Youth. Mind you, he didn't have any choice. It was compulsory for all boys, I think, so I'm not at all suggesting that he has any of that blood on his hands. That would be foolish. But it's also foolish to claim that the Nazis were atheistic, having been in the center of things himself!

Alright, now back to culpability. Ratzinger wants everyone to know that atheism must be resisted, otherwise it leads to the Third Reich. One of his cronies said that atheists should apologize for Hitler. If you scroll down, he's not actually serious. What he says is this:

Why should atheists today apologize for the crimes of others? At one level, it makes no sense: apologies should only be given by the guilty. But on the other hand, since the fanatically anti-Catholic secularists in Britain, and elsewhere, demand that the pope—who is entirely innocent of any misconduct—apologize for the sins of others, let the atheists take some of their own medicine and start apologizing for all the crimes committed in their name. It might prove alembic.

Well, Mr. Smartypants, (Bill Donohue) the big difference is twofold. One is a matter of guilt, the other is a matter of institution. Institutionally speaking, there's no International Church of Atheism, no one organization that claims it is the one true atheist organization with a grand leader that we all look up to. We're a fractious bunch and we actively resist the idea of a central leadership. The Catholic Church on the other hand, is most definitely a gigantic organization, the oldest representation of Christianity, and, of course, defenders of the "One True Faith"tm. It can be held responsible because it is an institution. On the guilt issue, I would be surprised if any atheist today had anything to do with the Holocaust. I'm sure plenty of modern-day skinheads don't believe in god, but they're all pretty young. We didn't murder the jews. We have nothing to apologize for. Neither does the Catholic Church, mind. They didn't murder anyone, and certainly didn't prop Hitler up as a good Catholic (though they didn't exactly condemn the persecution of the Jews). But you know what Ratzinger did do? What he personally did? He ordered Cardinals and Bishops and everyone under him to cover up systematic raping of children by clergy. He denies it ever happened. He calls the victims of clergy enemies of the Church, and dismisses their accusations as 'malicious gossip'.

And that, Mr. Donohue, he can fucking answer for!

Yours,

Christian Steenhorst-Baker.

P.S. Mr. Donohue? Fuck you, too.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Okay, I'm only going to say this once - part 1

Rape jokes aren't funny.

They're not.

Stop it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Things to remember #1.


You never want fast food more than while deciding what to eat. You never want it less than the hours after eating it. Ugh.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thoughts on the Evolution of Language In Western Society.


I only say 'Western' society because I'm absolutely and completely clueless about 'Eastern' society (never mind that the Earth is spherical).

The Evolution of language is something I've been interested in for a number of years because it so closely resembles the evolution of life. Group A who speaks a language starts moving around the world forming group B, C, and D. The longer they go without a lot of contact, the more local colloquialisms make it into their speech, the more the language starts to change until eventually groups B, C, and D would have a little difficulty communicating with group A and with each other, even though they're very similar. The more time that passes, the more differences crop up.

This can be illustrated in the extremely subtle differences between British English and American English and Canadian English. Canada's English is in the middle of these two examples, which I believe can be increasingly called by different names - English and American. Americans are speaking a language called American which they are developing through unique colloquialisms, cultural influences and preferred spelling. Think 'tonite' versus 'tonight'. Increasingly, words like 'tonite' and 'thru' are gaining acceptance as correct.

I've wondered how the evolution of language would progress now that geographical separation isn't as much as an impediment as it's been in the past.

For a brief time last year we had a teenager living with us and I hated the way she talked. Her vocabulary was pitiful, her spelling and grammar appalling, her pronunciation sub-par. The worst part, the part I was really worried about my son picking up (and he has) was the constant use of the word 'like'. I like to think that everyone knows what I'm talking about. Saying 'and I was, like, whatever,' as opposed to 'I dismissed his statement out of hand.'

For decades this brutal truncating of civilized discourse has been decried by self-appointed defenders of language (really who's going to appoint them?). Today as my son struck a pose and said he was 'all like fwash' I realized that there was a dimension to this kind of communication that I hadn't considered before.

It's very efficient.

As long as you understand the context and the people in the story, you can make out what's going on. People who pepper their speech with statements such as 'he was all like' and 'I was all like' aren't using words to convey a story - they're conveying a story with pantomime! They are acting out incidents rather than attempting to grasp at words they can't think of at just that moment.

It would be interesting to see if hand gestures became part of the equation, since internet memes are already being incorporated into daily speech.

A bizarre sci-fi language isn't far off, I think.

Thanks,

Christian

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Answers to a fundie I used to work with.


In all honesty, he wasn't a fundie, but a guy that I used to work with (and then worked for), was raised in a Jehovah's Witness household. He was a pretty cool and taught me a lot about music, window installation, and how to make it look like you were installing windows while napping all day long. This was back in 2002-2003 in a time before I cemented my atheism and started trying to think scientifically.

He didn't really believe in the Jehovah's Witness party line, telling his mother at a young age "Ma, I know I'm going to hell, but I wanna fuck!" (other women, of course, you dirty people (Hah! No one reads this blog))

I wanted to take this opportunity to address a few of the objections he'd been trained to raise, whether he believed in them or not, because apparently no one had ever set him straight or called him on anything.

1. Evolution is just a theory! It's never been proven!

There's a common misconception that after a certain amount of evidence is offered, a theory gets 'upgraded' to fact. This isn't the case. In scientific language the word 'theory' isn't used like it is in daily speech to describe a thought or an idea yet to be tested. In scientific language the word 'theory' describes an entire discipline of science and the continued study of the subject at hand. To be called a theory it must be able to explain something about the world or the universe, it must be a reliable tool to make predictions, it must have a condition that, if met, would prove the theory wrong, and it must be well-supported by the evidence. Evolution is a theory, but only in as much as relativity, newtonian physics, gravity, and atoms are theories. No one's ever proven those other theories either because the theory is the study of those phenomenon. We know gravity exists and we know how it behaves, the theory is the study of why gravity behaves the way it does.

That evolution happens is a fact.

2. If we are evolved from monkeys, then why are there still monkeys?!

Another common misconception about evolution, and one that dates back to the victorian era when Darwin first published the Origin of Species, is that it is a steady upwards progression toward something better. On The Origin of Species was published in the whirlwind of the industrial revolution when 'progress' was the buzzword of the day and Darwin's theories were immediately seized upon by people who wanted the idea of progress to be applied to all things. Naturally, if evolution were an upward progression, then mankind must be the ideal that all other creatures aspire to. Thus we even have a slew of science fiction writers who have, over the years, written about the 'next stage' in our evolution, usually into some creature made entirely of thought or energy or something else ill-defined (I'm looking at you, X-Men). But evolution isn't an upward progression.

Evolution means 'change over time'. When we're talking about biology, evolution is the adaptation of species to their environments over successive generations through variations in genetic allele frequencies (I have very little idea what that means). Evolution doesn't aim upwards to perfection, it aims for good enough to compete and no further.

So why are there still monkeys? Because monkeys are modern animals. They're evolved to function in their environments, and they do it quite well. All creatures on earth are evolving at the same rate, more or less, and all creatures are modern. We may have evolved from smaller, less intelligent primates, but environmental conditions, natural and sexual selection favored bigger, bipedal bodies and big brains. To quote one of my YouTube heroes, "Asking why there are still monkeys is like asking 'if Americans are descended from Europeans, then whey are there still Europeans?'"

3. There was a scientist who set out to disprove the bible by chronicling all the inaccuracies and he ended up converting himself!

Oh really? What was his name? When was this? I call bullshit on this one, outright.

As previously stated in my blog, science isn't a religion. One does not convert from science to christianity. There are plenty of scientists out there who also happen to believe in god. There's nothing wrong with that, they just tend to believe that God is either a powerful force that got the ball rolling but doesn't interfere (deism) or that even if God does interfere in daily affairs, that reality is still explainable according to natural laws. Studies show that the more educated a person is, the less likely that person is to be religious, but the two aren't exclusive. I have a very hard time believing that there was just some scientist out there, of no particular discipline, who, being moved by scripture, was inspired to abandon science and place his faith in Christ. One does not convert from science to christianity, one converts from atheism to christianity.

Besides, even if it were true, it wouldn't prove anything nor would it automatically lend complete credibility to religion. One isolated case of conversion does not prove the bible right and science wrong because the institutions of science have no exalted leaders who speak for everyone, like a Pope or a Dalai Lama.

I'm sure there were other things my friend and boss used to 'win' arguments, but I can't remember any of them right now.

Thanks for reading the airing of some of my dirty laundry.

Thanks,

Christian


Saturday, February 20, 2010

My love for my son.


I knew that I would love my son. I knew, from what small understanding I have of human behavior that a bond would develop. A bond so strong that I would do anything for him regardless of personal discomfort, inconvenience, or injury. What I didn't know was that I would love him as much as I do. I didn't know that I had so much room in my mind as to contain the absolute adoration I have for him.

Let me put it this way; I knew that I would love him, I didn't know that I would think him beautiful. Maybe that's just part of it - maybe every parent thinks their child is beautiful. I know that when things are quiet and nothing else is going on, I just like to look at him. He has rebellious blonde hair, sparkling light blue eyes and dimples. But it doesn't stop there. I love every curve of his body. His neck, his arms, his belly. I feel privileged that he's still young enough to be completely unselfconscious about his nudity.

I love almost everything about him. His voice. His laugh. His eating habits. His curiosity. His apparent love of music. Everything.

So I worry about him starting school. Up until recently I have assumed that I would be home-schooling him. When we made the decision to put him in public school I was heartbroken, but I've quickly come around to the idea. He's very excited about it and I have to admit that I'm looking forward to having a few hours to myself every day. Oh yes, I'll still be at home.

But I'm worried about what school will do to him. Will he still be sweet? Will it dull or enhance his curiosity? I'm worried about the other kids. I can't control who he'll be interacting with like I can now. Will the other kids be mean? Will my own son be mean?

Shelly and I are both atheists and we haven't raised Cole with any outstanding religious convictions and I worry sometimes that the other parents won't let their kids play with ours. People don't trust atheists; they think we have no morals. It's not true. Well, it probably won't come up. I haven't been indoctrinating Cole with an attitude of arrogant dismissal. No, I just try to explain things as clearly and as honestly as possible. So the following things are mythical: God, Zeus, Thor, fairies, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny.

Point is I love my son and for his sake I hope school goes well. For my sake I hope school doesn't beat him down like it did me.

Thanks,

Christian

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ray Comfort Is An Asshole.


A little while back Ray Comfort, head of Living Waters Ministry, announced that he and his ministry would be handing out copies of Darwin's Origin of Species. I believe he claimed, somewhere along the line, that he would be providing a more balanced perspective on the issue of evolution vs. creationism. Trying to give creationism a fair treatment, a day to present its case.

He didn't do that.

The version of Origin of Species that he and his ministries distributed had a Ray Comfort introduction. In it he proves himself not only a scientific illiterate but also a poor author. The bulk of what I actually managed to read myself (you can find the special introduction just about anywhere on the internet) was mostly about the mundane details of Darwin's early life. Comfort tries to paint Darwin in as negative a light as he can without actually resorting to explicit invective. Attempting to subtly portray Darwin as a poor student more interested in hunting and quite conspicuously mentioning that he married his cousin.

He then goes right into the intellect-insulting hypothetical scenarios. He asks the reader to imagine that the book they are reading came into existence all on its own. That by random chance some trees came apart, formed paper, and some ink fell out of the sky in exactly the right pattern so as to simulate letters and words in the correct order to reveal to us The Origin of Species. The odds against this happening by chance are astronomical! This is a favorite creationist tactic. The odds against any complex system spontaneously appearing, poof, out of its constituent ingredients are so mind-bogglingly large that it would be like, and I quote from another creationist source, 'finding the winning lottery ticket on the sidewalk every Friday for a million years'.

I'll grant him that. The odds against that happening are so great as to not be worth even arguing over.

But this first part of his actual dissertation reveals both his profound ignorance and his poor writing ability. He's arguing against complex systems appearing fully formed on their own - that an intelligent designer, almighty God, must have done it, otherwise it wouldn't happen. What you have to remember about Comfort's perspective, is that it's only 10,000 years long. All theories and evidence of geological, biological, physical, and astronomical matters indicate that the earth is over 4,000,000,000 years old (that's four billion) and that the very first life forms were quite awesomely simple. Not overly complex at all. He doesn't understand at all that all the constituent parts that make us complex organisms often evolved all on their own before eventually becoming part of larger wholes.

This is also where he proves he can't write. Though he constantly asserts that his arguments are factual and evident, he cannot help but write from the first person. He cannot present evidence, he can only argue from incredulity. 'It is unbelievable to me that what I think evolutionists think is even possible, therefore, it cannot be!' He's stated in one of his videos that he's glad he's a creationist because he doesn't have to know anything about biology. Well it's clear that he doesn't because if he did, he wouldn't be a creationist.

This is what makes him an asshole. Coming back to the topic of this post, Ray Comfort is an asshole. I don't mean 'asshole' in the everyday sense of the word, which is to say I don't think him mean or selfish in the way we call people 'assholes'. What I mean is that he is, metaphorically, an asshole in as much as what comes out of him is absolute shit. Shit that is noxious and offensive and deserves only to be gotten rid of so that we can all get on with our lives without it.

He's such an asshole and I worry about all the people who believe he has something to say that isn't pure shit. He never presents proofs for his point of view, he only props up other creationist 'scientists' who have a problem with this or that aspect of evolution as though pointing out certain perceived flaws would destroy the whole theory of evolution. What baffles me further is that he seriously thinks that pointing out certain flaws in the prevailing theory would prove the existence of an intelligent designer; his god! Not just any intelligent designer like aliens or fairies, but a god. Not just any god, his god! Not Allah, not the Greek Titans, not Qetzalcoatl, not any number of aboriginal gods or shamanistic spirits, but his god as spelled out in his preferred edition of the bible which is itself only one version out of the many editions edited and destroyed throughout the centuries.

He is an absurd, ignorant, hypocritical little man and if he were to die tomorrow I would not shed one bloody tear.

  • Evolution vs. Creationism is a false dichotomy. Disproving one does not prove the other.
  • Evolution says nothing about gods at all. Even if there is a God, evolution would still be at least mostly true.
  • Just because you don't understand something doesn't make it untrue.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jack Chick Part Two

A little while back I wrote about the fantastically talented and awesomely ignorant Jack Chick and company.

I've been reading the materials on the website for shits and giggles and upon further reading, and a nod from AronRa (one of my heroes) I've come to another realization about Chick Tracts. I had often wondered whom they were intended to convince as it always seems that the non-believers being convinced in the strips really already believe in God, they just deny it.

That's when I came to this realization that made Chick Tracts smaller, sadder, and more sinister. They're not intended to convince non-believers at all. They're propaganda for the already converted. These tracts teach believers slogans, reduce opposition to unreasoning monsters and hypocrites, while holding believers up as the only ones who know the truth - a truth that they came to by careful examination of the evidence.

I'm sad because before I pictured Jack Chick as a well-intentioned but ignorant cartoonist trying to spread the word the best way he could. Now I picture him as, at best, a sly propagandist proud of the effect he's having on the ignorant masses of bible-thumping fundies. At worst a spineless shill of someone else's propaganda.

Okay, let's get some points out of the way.

Evolution is not a religion. It has no dogmas, no articles of faith, requires no special clothing, has no doctrines for followers, and has nothing to say about the afterlife.

Evolution is a comprehensive and substantially-proven theory that explains the diversity of life on this planet. Not the origin of life, and certainly not the origin of our solar system, nor the entire universe.

Bible quotations are only an effective proof of God if you already accept the bible as true. The tracts argue that given point A, point B follows. Further that point B proves point C, which proves points D, E, and F, etc., etc. However, point A is bullshit.

Science isn't a religion! We who accept scientific explanations for reality don't do so because we have unwavering faith in scientists! There are scientists that I revere, but there are also writers and singers that I revere, and if any of them turned out to be phonies or cheaters I would turn my back on them. Scientists who distort their findings to achieve a desired result are scorned, their careers ruined. Preachers can distort meaning all they want because in the end nothing in their holy texts can be proved and so nothing can be disproved, either.

Where exactly are these level-headed believers so lovingly rendered in Chick Tracts? From what I've seen most of the converted, they're quick to anger, condemn, and exclude.

That's all I have for now. Who'd have thought this was going to turn out to be an atheist blog? Kind of inevitable when you think about it.

Thanks,

Christian

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jack Chick is Wonderful.

Have you ever heard of Jack Chick? Since the eighties he's been writing, drawing, and publishing bible tracts for good Christians to go out and spread the gospel in a fun and easily understood way. His website is here: www.chick.com and the tracts can be read online for free here.

Back when I was a teenager I used to collect these things and other tracts like it. I thought they were hilarious. At the time I did believe in God, I just couldn't accept that the people who published tracts could approach anything like the truth. But since I believed in God it started to get to me after a while. One can only read about how one is going to hell so often before it begins to get to one.

Now, of course, I've learned a few things. In order for Chick Tracts to be effective, the reader must already believe in God. Not just any God either, Jack Chick's God. Over and over in these tracts there is something odd going on. When I was younger I couldn't put my finger on it, but a few years ago I identified what was wrong. In the tracts, the reason why the non-believers haven't accepted Jesus as their lord and savior is because they've just never thought about it. They are instantly converted by kind expository Christians by being told that God so loved his children that he sent his only son to die on the cross for them so they could be cleansed of sin and get into heaven. Non-believers in these tracts are instantly and completely convinced of the truth of these claims. On the basis of simply being told as though the truth of the bible were simply self-evident! Jack Chick evidently hasn't met a non-believer who arrived at his conclusions after a great deal of thought.

This leads me to a an idea I have about Jack Chick. He's never met anyone. Anyone outside his congregation, anyway. I imagine he lives and works in a cabin in the woods and when he's finished a new tract, he calls his publisher who sends someone to meet with him and take the holy text from him for printing. I believe this because his characters are caricatures. Every believer is a good-hearted, good-intentioned, reasonable, compassionate, and patient person. Every non-believer is a selfish, cruel, mean-spirited, bad-tempered malcontent who derives pleasure from keeping the word of God a secret. They're hilariously unreasonable and usually uglier than the believers.

Chick and company are wonderfully ignorant of anything that isn't in the bible, from science to sexuality to hobbies and how actual real people behave. I say wonderfully because I want you to understand how I envision their place in the world. We live in reality. A reality defined by history and shared culture. Progress in science and human rights and happiness comes from learning about what is true and acting upon it. I consider Jack Chick and his cohorts to be Reality's Loyal Opposition. This is a valuable service because one's opponents helps to define one's place in the world and view of it. Their side looks to a heavily edited, badly translated transcription of an old Jewish oral tradition for guidance in the modern world, and my side finds out what is true by going and and looking.

Keep up the good work, Jack! We wouldn't be the reasonable, compassionate people we are today without your ignorant bigoted intolerance!

Thanks,

Christian

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Solipsism

I just read that the definition of 'solipsism' is the belief that one's self is the only real person in the world. Or extreme self-absorption or self-indulgence.

I don't know if my last post still holds a lot of validity, but it's a concept I was trying to bring across and if anyone ever actually reads this blog and has a better word, I'd be glad to learn it.

Thanks,

Christian

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mysogyny, Homophobia, and Solipsism.


Is what I read on the internet representative of common attitudes? Because either I'm only visiting a select number of websites with a very narrow focus or our civilization is rife with people who hate women and gays.

I admit, I troll through a lot of humor websites - funny pictures mostly. But a few things that stand out are tendencies toward hostility and exclusion of gays and women that don't quite measure up to an arbitrary standard.

One meme that spread around for a while was the 'Gay Test.' These were pictures of hot girls either in front of a guy or carrying a product such as a newly purchased MacBook. The caption says that if you noticed anything but the hot girl first then they have bad news. We all know what the 'bad news' is. It's notable that it's referred to as 'bad news'. It says interesting things about the person who wrote the caption that he considers the news bad. It probably wasn't calculated, he probably wasn't even thinking about it, but there it is. Either he considers being gay to be a bad thing or he wants others to think he believes that.

Homophobia is pure solipsism. I was going to blame religion, but religion is just an excuse. A self-defined perception of the world is the cause of almost all bigotry. We're all naturally solipsistic because our brains are the only way we have of interpreting our perceptions, so everything we see and hear is filtered through our identities. Let's make a hypothetical man. This man isn't aware of his solipsism, he simply believes his opinions and perceptions are correct. This man is also straight. The thought of having sex with another man is repulsive to him. Because this man believes himself to be inherently correct he also thinks that homosexuality must be inherently repulsive, so anyone who chooses to be gay is an incomprehensible and frightening deviant. Remember, our hypothetical man believes homosexuality is a choice because he is solipsistic and so believes that everyone is the same as him.

There is a positive correlation between religiosity and homophobia only because the vast majority of people are solipsists (because it's only natural) and most people are also religious. In other words, a coincidence.

I've known a lot of guys who were homophobic and considered themselves tolerant and broad-minded. Their very generous slogan on the matter was "They can do whatever they want with each other as long as they don't do it near me." So the gays are free to exist so long as they stay out of sight.

Kids are still calling 'gay' things that they don't like or are stupid. More habit than anything else, I think. They don't realize that if any of their friends or classmates are secretly gay, every time the slur is used they feel more afraid and ashamed.

I had a conversation with a teenager just last year about gays. She said she didn't at all have a problem with lesbians, but gay guys were just gross. I asked her why and she emphatically stated, 'because of what they do!' I pointed out to her Dan Savage's impeccable logic. Not all gay men do the thing she was disgusted by, only about 75%. Almost half, 49%, of straight couples admit to doing that thing on a regular basis. Gay people make up maybe 5% of the population. Do the math.

For those of you not in the know, misogyny is hatred of women. What I've noticed going around the internet, and I've commented on this only recently, is an abiding hostility toward women in general and unattractive women specifically.

Watch me pontificate!

The biggest reason for this hostility is that men are raised to believe that women are eye candy for them. In their worlds, women are decoration and accessories. They come to believe that they are entitled to see beautiful women everywhere and so become personally offended when they see a woman they find unattractive.

In general, men's attitude towards women is conflicted at best. We tend to get twisted up between what we want, what we're told we should want, and what we think our friends want. Our ability to see women as objects to be at once desired and reviled is so well-known as to be cliché.

I want to give some advice to the general male population whom, studies indicate, are probably regularly consuming internet porn. These girls women you're looking at are people with whole histories. They are daughters, sisters, and occasionally mothers. They don't always have the best reasons for posing in the photos and videos you're looking at.

Anyhow, this is just the impression I get from trolling around the internet. It's not like I head out downtown every day and talk to hundreds of strangers. I could be wrong.

Thanks,

Christian