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ecib  ·  3617 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski has been taken over by aliens  ·  

It's cold in Hamburg.

ecib  ·  3620 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: COMBOPOST || Wille Nelson singing Yesterday's Wine + The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci  ·  

    Being forcibly raised in what is, essentially, the Church of England (even the American iteration of it), one develops a huge superiority complex over the mainland Europe religions

No, no man. That's cool. You have a huge superiority complex informed by and projected towards various ethos, none of which you subscribe to. I get it :)

ecib  ·  3774 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Most Desirable Motorcycles Not Sold In America | RideApart  ·  

    What was it about your bike that sold you on it?

Well, kind of a funny store on that.

My boss had gotten a bike a couple years before. He used to race motocross in his youth, but he'd gone essentially his whole adult life without owning a street bike. So he got one. And you know what happens when someone gets a motorcycle? They not only wanna ride it, but they want get people they hang out with to ride with them. At least he did. Every other day it was "Dude, you gotta get a bike" and such.

So anyway, I like bikes and I wasn't opposed, nor was I gunning for one, but that spring I started going with him to his dealership whenever he would pick up a part for his bike and I'd check them out. I discovered that I don't like most Harleys, but I really love the Custom Sportster. It's narrow, light for a Harley, has awesome retro styling, had the 1200 cc engine so it wasn't a total dog on the highway, etc. If I picked up a Harley, I was only interested in a Sportster. Every other bike they made could suck it.

So fast forward a few weeks at my job where I'm an estimator/project manager. I do a lot of public bid work, and I'm putting together a technology bid for a brand new Coast Guard facility out in Galveston, TX. It's out of state for us, and the margins on public bid work are notoriously bad, so I didn't have high hopes, but somehow I win it. Fairly decent size, about a quarter of a million dollars, so I walk into my boss's office and tell him I'm going to call up our main distributor and order a shitload of cable because I won the bid:

Boss: NO NO WAIT! Don't order from them.

Me: Why not?

Boss: Because we're ordering from [competitor].

Me: Why are we ordering from them? You told me that all major cable orders have to go through [current vendor], and that we needed to maintain our relationship with them above our second tier suppliers.

Boss: I know I said that, but we're gonna win a Harley.

Me: ...

So it turns out that a competing distributor was offering an OEM promotion where if you, at the end of Summer, were one of the top 10 purchasers of product, you received 1 of 10 keys that would start the Harley.

Me: So you are basically selling out our main distributor for what is essentially a chance to win a scratch ticket.

Boss: Yes. Exactly.

Long story shorter, that job and a couple other large ones landed us in the top 10 purchasers in the region, and we went down to the distributor's company picnic to see what we could see. Had a drawing, got picked to be first up, and it was that key that started it.

The bike I was looking at all Summer was the precise bike that was the prize, and is the bike I'm driving to this day. So the biggest thing that sold me on it was that it was free ;) but outside of that, I would have bought it for it's mix of affordability, aesthetic beauty, and performance for what I wanted it to do (cruise).

ecib  ·  3849 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: LAX Shootings: Propaganda of the Deed?  ·  

    Yes, TSA is a terrorist organization. Its entire purpose is to frighten travelers for political purposes

Alternately the TSA might just be a bloated, spectacularly inefficient government organization trying to keep dangerous weapons like bombs and knives off planes, along with dangerous people who might use them, while erring on the side of "over-reach" where any gray areas occur.

Most TSA employees are just poorly paid people who have been fighting for over 10 years to unionize in the face of fierce government opposition (imagine that, government employees battling government agencies). They don't view themselves as fulfilling a mandate to "frighten travelers for political purposes" because no such mandate exist.

These TSA employees are not philosophers. They do not test their actions by viewing the morality of them through the lens of various world-views (especially radical minority ones that most people have never heard about) before acting. If they have though about it, they probably see themselves as showing up to work every day to a job that is thankless an boring, but at least does some good as they are keeping people safe. That's it.

If you have a problem with the TSA philosophically, confront it on a philosophical level and enact change there. Do it legislatively. Convince people of the bloat, the waste, and the ineffectiveness and change the laws.

But don't gun down some poor guy that has probably spent some time fighting the TSA itself for better treatment and who doesn't, for one single second, subscribe to or believe any of the things you're accusing him of believing or subscribing to. There are very strong arguments to be made on both sides of the debate regarding TSA, since any thinking person knows that there is a massive tension between liberty and security, and we have an unfathomable number of laws written in our society to try an navigate these gray lines.

    He shot terrorists, and ONLY terrorists, with no “collateral damage.”

He is the very definition of a terrorist, and just bolstered the case for intensive security checkpoints and weapons screening at airports unimaginably in the public's eye, and more importantly for his "cause", in the eyes of the decision makers in the government. Ciancia is both a coward and a fool.

EDIT: I have a little more to add. It's an anecdote I've been meaning to share for a while and this is probably as good a thread as any.

When I was travelling back from my honeymoon at New York's LaGuardia airport there was a significant delay. This was a few months ago when that Southwest plane's landing gear collapsed, tearing up the runway and causing many flights to be cancelled or significantly delayed. We were flying out the day after.

Anyway, we got there at our regularly scheduled time, and my wife got selected for a pat down because her sequin skirt was wreaking havoc with the metal detector. Annoying but it actually didn't take too long, -3 extra minutes in a room with a couple female agents. . Turns out we had plenty of time as our flight was delayed 4 hours. The bigger crime was that TSA stole my coffee. I was very sleepy, and it was exceptionally delicious, and I had about a half a cup left when I got to the security checkpoint and I couldn't take it with me. Oh well.

Anyway, we get to our terminal and it is crowded. We are one of the very few people to snag a seat, and very quickly they filled and people started laying out on the floor and over into the hallways. We sat uncomfortably for about an hour when we first saw "The Guy." The Guy was interesting in that he was dressed in a sort of long white robe-type garb and a head wrap, with a long full beard. He kind of wandered into the terminal and looked around a bit before setting down in a corner on the floor. He asked a person nearby some question I couldn't hear, and they had a little back and forth exchange in which he appeared to have trouble understanding/communicating. Definitely foreign born.

Anyway, because he was the most interesting character in the terminal so far (and there were some interesting ones, not in a good way), I'm mentally trying to place him. Based off the head wrap and not much else, I'm thinking the dude is a Sikh, but who knows? That's was just a guess and I was entertaining myself trying to flesh it out. There aren't too many Sikhs in the US, but Detroit, where I was flying to, has one of the larger populations of them.

I joked to my wife that the poor guy must get so many stares from people on planes being obviously foreign and sporting the beard and head wrap. Probably a lot of "random selections" in the TSA line too. I shit you not, so sooner do I say this does The Guy get up with his bag and shuffle over to the charging station where he crouches low over it and reaches in. He proceeds to pull out a shitty black cell phone, reach into his robes and pull out another shitty black cell phone that looks identical, then places the cell phone he pulled from the black bag back into it. He then tucks the other phone back into his robe, doesn't charge either of them, and shuffles away. I start laughing because that was hilarious. I was just joking about him being profiled and dude literally hunches over and reveals two identical cell phones, one on his person and one in a bag, and if you've watched any amount of action dramas in popular culture, you now know that dude has a bomb and he just checked the detonator in the bag. I mean, come on. So yeah. Way to fit a stereotype.

A bit more time passes and The Guy gets lucky and snags a seat when someone gets up. He mashes in between two people and tucks his bag under his chair. The dude looks keeps looking around in what looks like a suspicious/nervous manner. We both notice he is checking out the people around him hardcore. What does this mean, if anything? Well, he's flanked by two young girls in shorts, and it's really hard to tell if he is nervous or just creepin. I really don't know what his life philosophy or religious views are, but it's entirely plausible that if he leads any sort of extremely conservative religious life that preaches modesty, he might be in candyland when it comes to hot young chicks in shorts sitting in close proximity. Bottom line is that the guy is trying to look at the people around him without being too obvious and he is failing more spectactularly than I have ever seen a person fail at it. He is Captain Obvious. I really can't figure out if he is scared of getting caught looking down that girl's shirt or if he is scared that she knows about his bomb. Did I mention I was bored?

We're about two hours into our four hour delay when I look up and see that The Guy is missing. I look over to his seat and it is empty, but there is his black bag tucked under it in the crowded terminal. I scan around and see him about 100ft away, heading into the men's room.


So this is where I am wondering what this guy is thinking leaving his bag behind in a crowded terminal. I couldn't imagine doing that. Not least because I'm terrified of it being snatched since that is extremely common for thieves to do, but also because of the omnipresent, incessant, loud, ANNOYING* recordings I have to listen to every time I travel in any airport about not leaving your bag unattended and alerting security if you see one. It is grating. So yeah. WTF dude? How do you not understand how you're not supposed to leave your bag unattended? Is it the language barrier or is it something else? At this point my wife is kind of raising an eyebrow.

So I tell her "Listen, it's fine. He's just a foreign Eastern dude that checked a cell phone from his bag with one on his person before leaving that bag in the terminal and walking away from it. Happens all the time." I was mostly joking, because I really do believe that his happens all the time to the point of being boring to security, but the cell phones thing was a little weird I have to admit to myself.

So whatevs. We wait with baited breath to wait for him to walk out of the bathroom and he does...and proceeds to turn left and walk down the escalator marked "EXIT and Baggage Claim."




Now at this point I am thinking to myself that yes, this is totally mundane. I have a better chance of winning the lottery than having this be a Bad Situation. But thinking pragmatically about the thousands of times I've heard those unattended bag warnings, I reason that if there was ever a situation where one should report an unattended bag, -*this is probably it*. Plus I remember my cup of coffee. If my tax dollars are going to fund a billion dollar organization that steals my coffee, I'll be goddamned if I'm not going to make them do the job they were actually created to do. If they can check my coffee they can check that motherfucking bag. So I get up, walk into the hallway, and within a few feet I run into a TSA agent who looked like he was hurrying to somewhere, and it goes a little something like this:

Me: Hey, um, so this is probably no big deal, but there is an unattended bag over there.

Agent 1: Oh ok, thanks

Me: Yeah and it was a little weird because he pulled out two phones, one from that bag and one from his robes, looked at them both then put the one in the bag back and then took off. I'm sure it's nothing.

Agent 1: Ok, yeah, that happens all the time. If he doesn't come back in 10 minutes just come find me (he proceeds to walk off)

Me: (walking towards him) Uh, he left the bag, went to the bathroom, and then went down the escalators to the exit...

Agent 1: (still trying to walk away) Oh yeah, like I said we get that all the time.

Me: Do you just wanna check it real quick? Do you wanna know where the bag is?

TSA 1: Where is it?

Me: Right under that seat over there, dude has been gone for about 10 minutes.

TSA 1: Alright, yeah, like I said if he doesn't come back just come find me or you can go to any agent (jots quickly away).

Well that didn't go how I expected. I return to my wife who is incredulous when I tell her what happened. She got her ass patted because her skirt was shiny and these clowns can't be bothered to glance in an unattended bag per those mind-numbing non-stop announcements?

So we sit there staring at that bag for a few more minutes. I'm tempted to just walk over there and open it, but I fucking know it's just going have like, some underwear, a cell phone, and and apple and a bottled water, and I'll get to look like some shady asshole that went through some stranger's bag. I shouldn't have to be in this position. Fuck you TSA. I decide that I'm going to find more agents and tell them.

So that's what I do. I head out of the terminal and down the hall to the first security checkpoint where there is a podium around which three agents are standing looking bored and making small talk. I approach and tell them about the bag and The Guy.

Agent 2: You mean he just up and left?

Me: Yeah.

Agent 3: What he look like?

Me: Long white robes, head wrap, long beard, definitely foreign.

Agent 2: Alright well if he doesn't come back in 10 minutes let us know.

Me: Are you serious, it's been 10 minutes since I spoke with the first TSA agent, and he's not back!

Agent 3: Ok, where it that bag? (I proceed to point out the gate within view and where the bag is roughly)

Agent 2: Ok now that gate over there, that's not our sector

Me: Huh?

Agent 2: Yeah, that's out of our sector, what you need to do is see that wall over there by the gate and see that phone on it? You need go to that phone and call the agents from there cause that's not our sector.

Me: Are you seriously telling me to walk back into a gate where there might be a security issue in order to call TSA after talking with no less than 4 TSA agents about it? That's why I'm talking to you, -because I don't want to go back into that gate until this is checked out.

Agent 4 to her co-workers: Alright, I see you all later it's time for my break be back in 15.

Agents 2 & 3: Ok, see you later.

Me: Listen, you know the bag is unattended, I've talked to multiple agents and they keep telling me to just come back later, the dude left it there and headed towards the exit a while ago. I'm not walking back into the terminal to call a 5th agent. Why do I have to walk over to a wall phone to call you guys, -can't you call someone from "that sector" to check it out for me on your walkie-talkie?

And then:

Agent 2: Hey is that the guy?

Sure enough coming off an elevator and walking towards the gate is The Guy.

Agent 3: That Muslim dude right there?

Me: I don't think he's Muslim but yeah that's him.

Agent 2: Well he's going back to his bag now it looks like so I don't see an issue. If he leaves it alone again let us know.

Me: ....

So I head back to the terminal gate defeated. I dunno. Call me crazy, but if there was ever a time for the TSA to check a bag it was that. An unattended bag where the owner walked to the exit and remained away for at least a half an hour.

But no. It wasn't meant to be. I've heard the narrative of the TSA that OP and others have presented. What I found wasn't an evil political organization with an agenda. I found bored workers that were more than a little lazy that just couldn't be bothered. I couldn't have talked them into profiling or "violating the rights" of That Guy to save my life. They were more concerned with grabbing a snack or passing the buck onto one of their co-workers. I'm convinced that if stealing my coffee required any effort beyond glancing at a nearby garbage can and telling me I couldn't have it, I'd still have that too.

These are the people that Ciancia was gunning down. Bored. Indifferent. Not interested in stripping away even an ounce of your freedom in the slightest. They show up for a paycheck, and do what they're trained to do and nothing more, but often less. To paint them as something more and worthy of death as OP had done...well frankly, it's disgusting to me and displays a spectacular shallowness of thought. Intellectually weak as well as callous.

ecib  ·  4234 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Unmasking Reddit’s Violentacrez, The Biggest Troll on the Web  ·  

So I actually learned about this whole thing in this thread here on Hubski when it was first posted, along with the links to more context.

I've been on Reddit for well over three years, and over time as the character of the site changed with the incredibly massive influx of new users, I did some severe editing of the Reddits I subscribe to in an attempt to cut the chaf to a minimum. I feel like it's been relatively successful as I've managed to use Reddit almost daily for years without an awareness of most of the notorious personalities on the site and the dramas that have surrounded them over time.

So after clicking around and getting myself acquainted with the situation (No way I could refrain from being curious about a major tech writer publicly doxing somebody), I'm kind of left with the impression that I'm glad I'm not generally aware of this stuff. This whole Gawker thing just feels like I'm watching TMZ for nerds. The Gawker piece was a personality driven take-down complete with justifications of why what he was doing was actually 'ok' every other paragraph. Adrien Chen isn't a journalist so much as a crusader. Another thing that made me stop mid article was the information about Vilentacres' stepdaughter. That is incredibly disturbing stuff, and I sort of find it shocking and disgusting that Chen outed that girl. There is the potential for massive ramifications for her, and she is innocent in all this drama. Yes, she was supposedly 19, but we have no idea how much of that relationship involved coercion or grooming from the step-father authority figure. I suspect quite a bit. I think it's kind of sick that Adrien Chen outed that girl.

On the other hand, Violentacres is a fucked up dude, and Reddit is supporting his content. Here is where the usual cries of free speech ring out, but they miss the point. Reddit isn't the government, -it's a private network, and the First Amendment does not apply. The question becomes "Does Reddit want to nurture a community that caters to content like beating women and taking pictures of girls without their knowledge and repackaging them in a sexualized manner, and posting them online for others to see?". Personally I say no, and fuck everybody who thinks that's an assault on free speech. Reddit != the internet, there are plenty of places to find that content online if you want, and Reddit not having it would in no way degrade people's ability to a) post it, and b) consume it. Furthermore, Reddit already censors its content, as we have learned with r/jailbait fiasco (which I'm glad they do). So if Reddit is going to make the choice to ride the 'free speech train' on their private network, they need to play that card to the hilt or not play it at all imo. Ban /r/jailbait? Good. Defend and leave up reddits that collect and celebrate savage beating of females? What the fuck is the matter with you Reddit? Seriously. There is a reason that networks like Facebook and G+ don't allow content like this. It would destroy their communities. If they did, struggling G+ would just be a bunch of nodes streaming porn that would keep legitimate users away.

There will be another Vilentacres unless Reddit does something about it. This is sort of the reason why a public takedown of an individual who broke no laws by an alleged journalist seems so odd to me. It seems his problem should be with Reddit. And to out that poor girl in the process was just awful. Violentacres should have been banned from posting what he has been on Reddit a long time ago imho. When you factor in the massive number of subreddits banning Gawker links, you begin to see this whole thing for what it is. A big, personality driven egotistical internet bitch fest, amazing in scope, that does a remarkable job of missing what should be the point, on both sides. Violentacres is a POS and shouldn't be allowed to post what he does, Reddit's administration is inconsistent and asleep at the wheel, and Adrien Chen isn't a journalist, but rather someone who is willing to harm innocent people in order to carry out online feuds using Gawker as a complicit vehicle to do so.

ecib  ·  4393 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: North Carolina Votes on Same-Sex Marriage Amendment   ·  
It is a form of hate, and it is pure bigotry. As is often the case though, the people facilitating it sincerely feel that they have good reason to actively perpetuate this inequality. Most are religious, and it is very telling that they cannot tolerate making their case directly to people, and instead have to rely on making it illegal for others to make a choice they would not make for themselves. You don't see them trying to make constitutional amendments making it illegal to work on a Sunday, or eat shellfish, or take the lord's name in vain, or any number of things the Bible says are wrong. They reserve a special vitriol for gay people, All in defense of an instititution that has, throughout human history, never had anything less than a breathtaking number of variations and definitions, both culturally and legally. It disgusts me.

Every person that voted in favor of that is a moral and intellectual coward at worst, and at best incredibly ignorant. To be fair, the religious indoctrination most of them are acting out puts them squarely in the ignorant camp. Plenty of nice, mostly benign and well intentioned, incredibly ignorant human beings, perpetuating hate.

ecib  ·  4404 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Presto.fm - a music streaming service to find niche artists that just works  ·  
First of all, congratulations on launching your site.

Second, let me compliment you on the layout. It's slick. I think it's fairly innovative too, at least for the text input. I like beginning to type, and having a band auto-populate, then being able to just continue typing a new string in the same input box without having to perform extra mouse clicks or insert unintuitive punctuation (commas, etc) to separate the selections.

I tried it on Safari on OSX and mobile safari on iOS. Unlike OSX, when I selected my bands and hit [Play] in iOS, the music/video does not play. It takes you to the music launch page with the 'Now Playing' Band Bio, but you must then locate the video, and look for Youtube's on-screen play button, then select that. Only then will the station start. Both OSes played the station continuously once it started.

That being said, there are, imo, currently 3 major types of online music streaming services:

1)Pandora Style - Sites like Pandora, Slacker, and others, let you type in a band, or song, or some other input, and it generates a playlist and builds a station of songs and artist based upon your input.

2)Spotify Style - All you can eat buffet. Spotify lets you type in an artist, album, or band, and it pulls up every song in its catalog for you. You then take those songs that you go out and find, and create a playlist that you can listen to. Spotify boast a vastly larger catalog than Pandora, but you have to do the work of putting your playlists together. I'm not going to get into the social sharing elements, but it is worth noting that Spotify has an open API that has let outside developers create an app that taps Spotify's larger catalog, and mimics Pandora, building you an instant radio station based on their catalog and your existing playlists.

3)Songza Style - A relatively new service, Songza occupies a space in between Pandora and Spotify. Songza knows what time of day it is when you open the site or the app, and based off the time of day, it presents you with curated mixes that are on-theme based on the time of day. Right now it's Friday night, so I open Songza and my choices are 'A Sweaty Dance Party', 'Pre-gaming with friends', 'Unwinding After a Long Week', 'Love and Romance', and 'Bedtime'. Whichever I choose, it will then break my station options into genres like Electronic, Indie, Acoustic, etc. Basically, it creates a mix for you, but unlike Pandora, the songs always stay "on mood" and you don't have resort to taking forever to make a mix that stays on mood with Spotify (or your own music collection for that matter). This service is truly fills a role you probably didn't realize you needed filled before you used it. The tracks are also curated by the service, and it shows. I have found that they play a lot more of what might be considered 'deep cuts' than other services, -great songs that don't get played on Pandora because the algorithm is too busy playing the most popular cuts from that artist.

For me, Presto falls squarely in the 'Pandora Style' camp. You tell it what you like, and it gives you a station built around that. I haven't used it enough yet, but what would make it or break it for me is a)the size of the catalog compared to competitors like Pandora, and b)the tracks it chooses to present to me from within that catalog. I personally find Pandora repetitive and awfully stale. I have a feeling that if Presto pulls from Youtube, then it's already got a leg up, as Youtube has much more eclectic content that what Pandora has licensed from the labels.

The band biography info is fantastic, but let's be honest, if you are building a music streaming app/site nowadays, this feature is expected.

Can I say I tell you that I like the font you use on your site? I like the font on your site.

Finally, the question, "Will I adopt Presto?"

Hard to say. For me, it seems to have the potential to be much better than a service I don't, unfortunately, use (Pandora style). For me, having a Spotify is giving me any song/album/artist I want, as much as I want, and Songza is creating the effortless, "on mood" station when I'm not picky.

Also, not having iOS/OSX Airplay feature means I'm probably going to just pull out the phone in my pocket and open Spotify or Songza and stream wirelessly to my stereo speakers, instead of going to get my laptop, powering it it up, and playing out of the crappy laptop speakers.

But I'm going to keep using it for sure. I am really curious to see what kind of serendipity it can deliver to me. If it presents me with new music that I love, the I'll be back for sure.

Overall, it looks great though :)

Edit: The Youtube window in Presto contains Youtube's iOS integrated 'Airplay' button. I think I will be using this service a lot more now. Cool.

EDIT 2: So I was listening to my station 'Nick Cave & The Bad Seed + Leonard Cohen' and it was playing a nice eclectic mix, and I was very impressed. Then this happened:


My band bio tells me I'm listening to Ohio by Neil Young, and it gives me a bunch of info about Neil. But that is not what is playing. What is playing isn't music, but some chieften pawing his guitar and babbling about how he will teach me how to play a sweet solo to Neil Young's song.

Not so good. I have a feeling this may happen a bit if you're drawing your material from Youtube due to the sheer amount of covers, but I'm hoping not too much. Well, I'm just going to consider this Presto's version of commercials. I have to listen to stuff I don't want to on other apps, so I no exemption here I guess :) But it's bad that it's trying to tell me this chief is Neil Young.

To mitigate this, (if this is something that your algorithm can't reliably handle), you might want to make the 'next' buttons (along with the other media button 'previous' and 'pause') MUCH more prominent in the UI.

ecib  ·  4410 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hallelujah lyrics meaning  ·  
This verse is specifically referencing the denial of Jesus by the apostle Peter right before the crucifixion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial_of_Peter

She accuses him of talking the name in vain (a sin, this references one of the 10 Commandments), and his response that he doesn't even know the name she is referring to, places the protagonist in the same shoes as Peter, denying Christ right before his execution (another betrayal).

I guess the question is what does 'the name' refer to here? I interpret it this way. I feel like, as mentioned in the other posts, the man in this song views the man/woman union as a holy one in its ideal form (this is the 'Hallelujah'), and the woman does not see it this way. I get the sense in this verse that she accuses him of taking the name in vain, with the name being their love/relationship. I imagine he does this when it falls apart, and he curses it, but he says "So what if I did, really, what's it to you?" with the implication that she doesn't believe in that anyway. This framework is introduced in the very first verse "I heard there was a secret chord that David played and it pleased the Lord...but you don't really care for music do you?". Right at the outset, she is rejecting his world-view regarding the religious component of relationships.

The last line of this verse tells me that the carnal/spiritual duality of relationships both have a greater truth to the protagonist, either the 'holy' or the 'broken' Hallejulia. Both have the blaze of light (truth), but just a blaze, as each is incomplete without the other half.

ecib  ·  4435 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Atheism and Oppression  ·  
For me, it's a little hard to just remain neutral and immerse myself in the fantasy that religion isn't harmful in the aggregate and that the bigotry that theists engage in doesn't extend beyond their group. I have a gay family member, and it breaks my heart to see her wishing so badly that she could marry the woman she loves, but cannot, due to that bigotry. In fact, the Christian church in the aggregate mobilizes against her to make sure that never happens. The average 'nice' Christian you meet on the street supports this.

I think atheists have every right to actively go after religion in the public sphere as long as religion is giving its mouth and money in that public sphere to deny basic human rights to others. As a group, atheists are a lot less activist than theists, even counting the militant (or anti theistic) ones. It makes sense, since atheists have no central tenant to rally behind, and we certainly don't have the biblical command to go out and convert others like our theistic counterparts. I treat people kindly in person and generally with the same amount of respect as the extend to me. I'm not a raging atheist by any means, but I'm glad there are people out there like Dawkins chipping away. Institutions that promote and enshrine the kind of widespread bigotry and immorality that the church does need to either a) change their doctrine, or b) be torn down, IMO.

Edit: As an aside, I do find r/atheism to be one of the more grimace-inducing corners of the Internet. I had to remove it from my main feed a long time ago.