Metro State Atheists

Promoting Science, Reason, and Secular Values

Venom In The Veins

Venom

in the

Veins

It’s my property! Why, I paid $985 for this here piece of flesh, and I have the right to do what I want with it.

Pounded under the slave block’s gavel,

bid-$1-2-430 bid-$2-4-580 bid-$3-4-850 bid-$5-6-1,000

& Sold, & Sold, & Sold, & Sold,

heart beats, heart beats, heart beats, heart beats

Four million hearts beating

Imprisoned

For Life

For Greed

For Lust

for

the rhythm of planting, picking—

FLESH

Turned into MONEY,

Blood

Poured into crops,

Fusing with the dirt

And

Raining from the sky—

Southern trees bore a strange fruit

Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,

Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze,

Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Across the street,

in the White Churches,

BREAD turned to CHRIST’S FLESH,

and

BLOOD

to WINE

So if’in I want to rape it, hate it, mutilate it, that ain’t none of your business. I can even kill it if I want to ‘cause it’s mine, and you can’t stop me. Though me killin’ it would mean I was downright crazy given what I just paid for it. But when it gets old and useless, and I’ve gotten my money’s worth, I just might hunt it for fun. Now you just get on out of my way before I start to showin’ my hate for you, you anti-Christian piece of Northern trash! It’s in the Bible; they’re heathens, savages, inferior, don’t believe in Jesus, and even when converted, they still the sons of Ham. My preacher taught me the word of God. He should know. God’s never wrong, and We Southerners have God on our sidde [ssssss-slap]

God on our siiiiid- [sssss-slap]

God on our siiii- [ssss-slap]

God on our sssss- [ssss-slap]

God on ouuur- [ssss-slap]

God onnn -[ssss-slap]

“Oh, yes ye converted heathen, God has a message for thee; be meek and mild my child in the face of thy travails. Submit and repent; think only of Heaven, not this world, and the next will be yours.”

So said the Southern Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and cohorts.

(and the country whispers but that was so long ago; that was not us; I’m not to blame…. but look and listen and understand it is here now; it is racism; it is killing you, me, the haters and the hated—and yes, even most the ones that stand by, doing nothing)

The vomiting has begun

AGAIN

The bile is rising

AGAIN

The venom in the veins

Courses hardy

Again,

Throbbing, pulsing

AGAINf

Lub dub, Lub dub, Lub dub:

The throb of life calling for

MURder, MURder, MURder, MURder

chanting in a viperous tongue

slithering from

the Reptilian brain,

spitting

H A T E

K I L L.


When did slavery end?

When did it end?

Physical fact,

Or

State of mind?

Emotional?

Spiritual?

Cultural?

As law?

Or

Law enforcement?

But only the sightless believe

It ended in 1864.

Jim Crow’s reign, segregation, culture of terror, KKK, politicians, Good-White-Men-with-Family-Values. Black ink on White paper records 3,437 African-American lynched up to 1951. Not recorded: every Beating, Stabbing, Crippling, Broken bone, Fried human, Burnt house, Vigilantes Hunting in packs…..

Rising in the pride of the South, strong in their conviction, pleased with their Tradition, Southern Governors and Senators spoke out for what their cold, lizard hearts and squalid eyes and fetid brains claimed as Truth. the “Negro” is inferior. With God (& their ‘way of life’) on their side, they made sure no African American sat on a jury; lynchings took place with impunity as community picnic entertainment, photographed with pride—placed in the family album next to the wedding reception.

(and the country whispers….but that was so long ago… that was not us; I’m not to blame…. but mark and listen and understand it is here now; it is racism; it is killing you, me, the haters and the hated—the Lovers and the Loved—and yes, even most, the ones that stand by, doing nothing)

Woodrow Wilson, a racist Enforcer, segregated the federal government: 1902-1910. One man—the country followed.

1955, a 14-year-old Chicago boy visiting in Mississippi crossed an invisible “white’s only” boundary he didn’t even know existed. His punishment: eyes gouged out, beaten to death, then, finally, shot in the head, thrown into the Tallahatchie River, a 75-pound fan tied around his neck with barbed wire weighing his small body down. Only 54 years ago (and the country pretends… it was so long ago…but oh how wrong we are. It happened during my lifetime. And it was not the end.). Two men arrested, not held or punished; the haters enforced their reign of terror, and J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI promulgated hate, intimidating civil rights workers, giving aid to lynchers, discrediting Martin Luther King, Jr., serving him up to the murdering mob.

1968, only 41 years ago, racism killed Martin Luther King, Jr.

1981, two KKK members in Alabama randomly chose to lynch 19-year-old Michael Donald. For the very first time, the killers were found guilty, but the prosecutor has been number 1 on the Aryan Nation hit list ever since. 1981, Only 28 years ago, during the lives of my children.

I beheld my caring, open-hearted lover

Ignored

Every month, every week, every day, every hour

We strolled through a store

Sat together for coffee—or more.

Eyes glided blankly past her to see only me,

Ask me what I wanted

Fuss over me

Serve me

While she stood next to me:

Invisible

Black

But

Invisible

Except in the Glares of the Police.

The Stares of the Guards

The Malevolence of the Whites

Sniggering, Blithering

As we passed by.

I learned to read

The nerve-quickened pulsing

at the edge

Of her jaw,

The muscles set

—Tightly—

from

neck

to

shoulder

blade,

Petrify,

and

Rip

her throbbing, open heart

APART.

1998, three men, all members of a white supremacist prison gang, murdered James Byrd, Jr., a 49-year-old Texas father of three, who had accepted an early-morning ride home from work with the three men. Because it’s what white racists do, they attacked him, dragging him to his death behind their truck, then moseyed off to a barbecue. 1998, only 11 years ago, as the radical Christian Right gained its stranglehold on the Republican party, fought for religion in politics, anti-immigration, anti-gay, anti-everything “not them.” They’ve perfected the attack ad, blaming the “other,” hunting the scapegoat, preying on and harnessing the collective ugliness within us. And as they’ve discovered, there is more than enough to destroy this country without the need of a nuclear bomb. (and the country ignores….IT is not going away…IT grows on hate, and the agony is ascending once again, again, and again, flooding the land.)

Finally, on June 13, 2005, the US Senate formally apologized for its failure to previously enact a Federal anti-lynching law. All earlier attempts had been defeated by filibusters by powerful Southern senators. 2005, only 4 years ago (and the country sighs, it is over…Oh, how very wrong are we. Look anywhere; there IT is).

And once again the lynching comes

as mobs find courage in numbers.

Have Faith for Faith’s sake,

preserve Tradition for Tradition’s sake

Hate for Hate’s sake

With God, Government, and Police on their side.

For as far back as we have evidence, humans have practiced human sacrifice: scapegoats, the pariah, the “other” to put upon them the blame and shame of the community, to be the sacrifice for the sins of all, originally to drive them out of the community and leave them to die—or ritually kill them in cleansing ceremonies. Human sacrifice for the rest of our sakes; human sacrifice to the gods. The one we know best is the dying/rising god, the god that promises immortality. The names may change but the promise of sin-free immortality remains the same: Osiris, Dionysus, Tammuz, Odin, Ishtar, Persephone, Baal—Jesus. Christians say Jesus is the last; THEY say Jesus took the sins of all so no one else would have to suffer; THEY say they follow him….and yet…and yet….and yet, THEY continue scape-goating—sacrificing others, projecting fears, hatred, anger, perverted thoughts onto entire populations.

What an excuse to commit genocide (Indians, Jews, Blacks, Muslims, Immigrants—take your pick).

What an excuse to kill ( so many to choose from).

What an excuse to be a vigilante (a buffet of life to slaughter).

What an excuse for murdering in the name of love.

Diagnosis:

The psychosis of humanity made manifest, running amuck, ranting, wrecking, reeking havoc, assaulting, lynching, Effacing to avoid facing themselves.

Playing God, they slaughter.

The herd hunts again,

Rulers of Deceit:

The Rogue and the Righteous

—The McPalins of the World—

Forging the grandiose

Hate-Fest

To Feast,

Draped

in rancid lies

They

Dredge

the

Sludge in the drains—the slime—

Lining the social plumbing,

Lurking in the twisted shadows

Out of sight

But

Never

Out of mind.

Left too long to rot and mold

In the grime

of history

—denied—

Bubbles in repression,

Churns sour in our souls,

Flings out its tentacles for the light of day

Births hate from guilt,

Pain from shame,

Displaced blame gobbles the refusal to atone

No matter how hard we try to scrub the claims of conscience away,

Racism

is

Our Nemesis,

Our cyanide rage,

Our Gangrenous hate.

Crawling on the unmasked:

Neighbors,

Church members,

Farmers,

Butchers,

Jury-sitters

Bakers

Law-makers,

ALL

Beasts craving to be fed Again

US-made

Vampires

Raping

Their Country,

Devouring

Their Young.

(With God on their side)

Thanks to:

Abel Meeropol for the lyrics Strange Fruit

The Southern Poverty Law Center:

Morris Dees, Joseph J. Levin, Jr., and Julian Bond,

Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, all those who’ve been hurt & still will,

All who’ve fought and still continue to

Charging Shame to:

All that aid & abet fear of those who are different

All that feed off hate

All that incite violence against those who disagree

All that are complicitous, consciously or not

By riki mathews, The Trickster

(Some aspects of original format have not been preserved)

October 30, 2008 Posted by | god, Poetry, Politics, religion, The Trickster | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Materialism and Morality

So, according to Michael Humphrey from The Daily Everygreen Online, atheism precludes the possibility of having morals. I thought I would take some time address some of the claims made in his article.

Pure materialism rejects the existence of anything beyond matter and its interaction. When all events in the universe are reduced to the colliding of atoms, there’s no room for good or bad. These interactions are purposeless and irrational.

Though it may be without purpose, it is far from being irrational. The interactions of matter are consistent. If one is rational, it means their opinions are consistent with and logically derived from established facts and observations. The interactions of matter are determined by the properties inherent to the matter itself. Matter never deviates from its own nature, and never reaches irrational conclusions. The material world never actually reaches any conclusions, nor does matter apply reason to anything because matter is not aware of facts and it doesn’t make observations. Matter has no need to derive truth from itself, because the properties of matter, and energy, dictate what truth is.

Because of this reductionism of everything, materialists argue that humans are the same as animals, thus taking away the dignity humans have.

I’m not so insecure that I think my worthiness of esteem and respect is somehow robbed if I’m not the product of divine inspiration. Dignity is only lost if your standard for dignity requires that the entirety of the universe revolves around our tiny little lives. Besides, why should truth conform to the whims of our discontentions. Reality need not think you speacial in order to remain real.

This line of thinking is severe and deadly. Let’s consider whether it is evil or not to kill an animal. If it is evil to indiscriminately kill an animal, then it is also evil to indiscriminately kill humans. However, the unfortunate side effect of this is that we must stop washing anything, because killing bacteria – animals – is just like killing people.

The other option is that indiscriminately killing animals is not evil, but then killing humans indiscriminately isn’t evil either. So the worst atrocities of human history are nothing more than just washing your hands.

In either case, the final issue is that the Holocaust becomes morally equivalent to cleaning a dirty bathroom.

This is a very simplistic view of morality because it does not take into account the reasons why we consider killing in some circumstances wrong and not in others. The killing itself is not inherently wrong and, for most people, the moral implications of the act are based on other factors such as necessity and sentience.

Then things such as altruism are only believed to be “good” because they benefit the species and forward our evolution. However, altruism and self sacrifice are actually a detriment to our progress. If the weak are procreating, they only pollute the gene pool and ultimately damage the species. If Dawkins is right about memes and morality developing in an evolutionary way, then all forms of altruism will quickly exterminate themselves, since it is disadvantageous evolutionarily.

Altruism need not be applied only to the weak and, as a social species, our certain weaknesses can be more tolerated in the population. When a parent cares for her children or her relatives, he/she is helping to ensure that members of the species sharing at least some of his or genome are more likely to survive. While altruism might perpetuate certain weaknesses, such as strength, it selects for intelligence and strengthens the group by cultivating problem solving skills. Altruistic behavior is even present at the cellular level. In multicellular organisms, a process of cell destruction called apoptosis occurs. Apoptosis can be mediated by the organism, or by the cell to be destroyed. In one case we see murder, but in the other we see self-directed cellular suicide. When the cell poses a threat to the organism, it quite literally takes one for the team. I’m fairly certain Dawkins discusses social evolution in more than a few of his books, and he addresses this very concern. If Humphery read Dawkins work at all, he might have been aware of that.

Furthermore, this type of thinking on morality can lead some to justify atrocities. If we take Dawkins at his word about the evolution of morality, then for the sake of the species almost every corner of the world has found it acceptable to enslave, exterminate and sterilize humans at some point.

The behavioral parameters we have are not absolute, because our circumstances are not absolute. Many societies have also deemed slavery not acceptable. Why should we assume that one circumstance is inherently implied while the other is not? Evolutionary pros and cons exist for societies advocating slavery and those not advocating slavery. Ultimately, slavery is less beneficial. Freedom allows for the persistence of genetic diversity and increases the likelihood that a beneficial characteristic will be have a chance to enter the population. Freedom is potentially beneficial for every member of our species, while slavery only favors the few. Humphery also seems to think that those who use slavery are so capable because they are superior. Slave drivers usually have a weapon, something their genetics know nothing about. Technology has changed the course of evolution. Almost anyone, regardless of their genetic “inferiority”, can pull a trigger.

It was once legal and morally acceptable to own slaves, yet Western civilization considers freedom to be an inalienable right. But from Dawkins’ point of view, it could be prudent for our species to enslave the weak for survival of the strong.

Slavery does not favor the strong. With a weapon, even a child is potentially deadly. Also, if I were to advocate slavery, I would have to acknowledge the potential that I might be enslaved. Not only is it in the best interest of our species to remain free, but it is in the best interests of the individual.

These conclusions, once illuminated for what they are, morally corrupt – lose their creditabilty. They are simply a gross oversimplification of the human condition. We are more than biological programs.

This reasoning is completely circular. Humphery correctly implies that certain atrocities such as slavery are neither morally right or wrong, but then arbitrarily decides that such a a conclusion is unacceptable. In other words, he’s assuming the existence of absolute moral truths, and using them as evidence that moral relativism is irrational. Humphery deems the implications of moral relativism unacceptable by applying them to his as yet unjustified absolute moral standards. Humphery’s argument establishes nothing, it requires that moral absolutes already exist. His argument is as follows:

Slavery is wrong, moral relativism implies otherwise, therefore moral relativism is wrong.

That Slavery is absolutely wrong, or that moral absolutes even exist, is never established and the assumption never actually justified.

God gave us stewardship over creation not to exploit, but to tend it as a servant tends his master’s vineyard.

I may have spoken to soon. It seems Humphery feels that servitude is morally acceptable. How ironic…

-Chalmer

October 7, 2008 Posted by | Morality, philosophy, religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Homeopathy: Deadly Consequences

From the National Institute Against Health Fraud

“A CANADIAN TRAGEDY

The quackery-related death of a 17-month-old girl has sent shock waves across Canada. No one aspect of the story is unusual. The scenario is a classic combination of cultural vulnerability, modern urban mythology and quackery.
The Victim

Dead from malnutrition and pneumonia is Lorie Atikian. Eight months before her death on September 25, 1987, Lorie was a perfectly healthy baby. When she died she was nearly bald, covered with deep red rashes, and so emaciated that the paramedics thought they were being tricked by being given a doll to treat.
The Parents

Lorie’s parents Sonia, 38, and Khochadour, 54, are emigrants from Lebanon and Syria. In addition to Lorie, the couple has two teenage children. Like many people these days the Atikian’s were concerned about modern food additives, pesticide residues, and drugs. Their cultural background may have made them a bit more vulnerable, but like most people they held positive attitudes toward “natural” food and medicine. Sonia became enamored with Gerhard Hanswille, an “herbologist.”
The “Herbologist”

Gerhard Hanswille, 55, says that he learned herbology in Germany through self-study and books (Germany has a tradition of folk medicine that includes a great deal of Medieval herbalism). In 1972, Hanswille obtained a mail order doctoral degree in naturopathy from “Bernadean University” (BU) located at that time in Las Vegas, Nevada. BU, which was never approved or accredited to offer any courses, was closed down by the Nevada Commission on Postsecondary Education in 1976. It then moved to California where it operated for several years before eventually becoming “authorized” under the State’s liberal rules (Aronson, 1983). California has tried to close BU but has been blocked by its claim to being a religious school of the Church of Universology (Emshwiller, 1987).

Hanswille owns two “House of Herbs” stores, writes and gives seminars at which he expounds his theories, which include making wax and clay effigies sealed with drops of blood and sperm (notions founded in Monism and Vitalism which are the basis of most primitive folk medicine). Hanswille’s book describes how to heal diabetes, epilepsy, TB, tumors and paralysis by “touchless massage.” Hanswille likens the technique to dowsing for water, something that “not everyone can do.” Sonia paid $450 to take Hanswille’s course.
The Promise

Hanswille’s compelling vision of natural health made a convert of Sonia. When she became pregnant with Lorie in 1985 Hanswille convinced her to remain “pure” for the sake of the child. She testified that Hanswille promised to make Lorie a super baby. “That baby is going to be very different. Its going to develop without chemicals. Its going to be strong and pure…it going to be very special.” Hanswille convinced Sonia that vaccinations would “poison” her child, and that ultrasound examination would damage an unborn baby’s brain. He had Sonia tell her pediatrician that she would not be bringing Lorie in any more because the family was moving to California. Hanswille was described as “. . .like a doctor. . .surrounded by medicine and books. . . sure of what he was saying. He always had an answer.”
The Regimen

Hanswille advocated an organic, vegetarian diet. He sold the Atikians a special juicer for $400 alleging that their own juicer “burned the nutrition” out of fruits. Among the special products the Atikians purchased from Hanswille were a bottle of baby oil that cost $16, a bar of soap costing $7.40, and a 3 kg box of laundry detergent that cost $35.99.

When Lorie became ill she was treated with royal jelly, “cell salts” (homeopathy), and an herbal concoction brewed by Hanswille. He also treated Lorie with an electromagnetic “vitalizing” machine that “stimulates the blood” and has attachments such as an electrified comb that “livens up the hair.” Sonia Atikian testified that they became very concerned about Lorie’s condition but that Hanswille assured them that it was normal for clumps of her baby’s hair to fall out and not to worry if Lorie didn’t gain weight. Hanswille told Sonia that taking Lorie to a hospital would be like “holding a loaded gun to Lorie’s head and pulling the trigger.”
The Legal Charges

The Atikians were charged with failing to provide the necessities of life for their baby daughter (child neglect). Up until now Hanswille has not been charged with anything. He has angrily complained that he feels like “the accused” but denies that he did anything wrong. He says that he “cannot tell people what to do,” that it is up to the parents to make decisions for their children. The judge instructed the jury that it was all right for them to “vent your spleen” over the activities of Hanswille “and his ilk,” but neither he nor herbalism were on trial in the death of little Lorie.
The Verdict

On June 12 the Atikians were found guilty of child neglect. Sentencing is scheduled for July 6.
How Unusual Is This Case?

The sad story of the death of little Lorie Atikian received national coverage in Canada by the Toronto Star (5/10-6/13) and The Globe and Mail. It is the kind of story that elicits harsh blame of the parents for their gullibility. “How could they have been so foolish?” is the usual response. The reality is that most of the public is sympathetic to the underlying assumptions that condemn modern food, commercial agriculture and extol “natural” medicine. The herbal industry is trying to distance itself from Hanswille by saying that the case is “not typical.” However, we believe that what Hanswille told the Atikians is not only widely believed by health food and natural (herbal) medicine ilk; it largely represents the philosophy that is used to justify the existence of “alternative” medicine and herbalism. The faith the Atikians placed in Hanswille seems cult-like, but how different is it than the confidence a patient must put in a surgeon, anesthesiologist, radiologist, or physician who hold lives in their hands?
Murder, By Words Alone?

In 1962, a California chiropractor was convicted of second-degree murder by words alone in the death of 11-year-old cancer patient, Linda Epping. To get a conviction, the prosecutor had to prove that “his fraudulent representations … caused Linda to die when she died” (Miner, 1964). We do not know enough about Ontario law to know if what Hanswille did constituted the unlawful practice of medicine, and if so, the resultant death of Lorie Atikian makes such a felony. We do know that Lorie’s death is even more tragic than Linda Epping’s because Linda had a form of cancer that is usually fatal while Lorie was a healthy baby with a normal future. People who presume to give health advice that can make the difference between life and death must be regulated by the government and held accountable for their misdeeds. Consumer protection law holds that practicing medicine is a privilege, not a right. Like driving a car or flying an airplane, only those who are qualified are granted such privilege by the state. It is clear that the state has a compelling responsibility to protect vulnerable people–and their children–from the glib purveyors of pseudomedicine. It matters not that such practitioners are sincere in their beliefs. Experience teaches that, when it comes to quackery, zealotry can be more dangerous than fraud.
References

* Miner J. “The Phillips case–A new dimension in murder,” J Forensic Sci, 9:(1):1-10, 1964.
* Aronson V. “Bernadean University: a nutrition diploma mill,” ACSH News & Views, March-April, 1983.
* Emshwiller JR. “Phony parchment,” Wall Street J, April 2, 1987.”

October 1, 2008 Posted by | Pseudomedicine, Pseudoscience | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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