Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

Archive for June, 2009

[Atheism] British Teens Trending Towards Knives

Posted by Lex Fear on June 26, 2009

Oh I do love statistics, I love the fact that, whatever your cause or personal vendetta, you can usually find a statistic to back you up.

I was impressed a couple years ago when I heard that 20% of Americans aged 18-25 had no religious affiliation or were atheist/agnostic.

Apparently, I should have been looking to Britain.

It turns out if you survey British children aged 13-18, the stats are even more favorable for non-theists.

<snip>

Is this just an isolated case of British awesomeness or a continuing trend toward non-religiosity?

The Friendly Atheist // British Teens Trending Away from Religion

Yep, keep quoting those stats…

The new figures indicate that in the year 2007-8  there were some 277 deaths from stabbings in England & Wales alone (the highest recorded figure for 30 years). This represents an average death toll as a direct result of stabbings of over 5 for every week of the year!

<snip>

  • 11-12 year olds carrying knives last year: 10% (Youth at risk)
  • 15-17 year olds admitting to carrying knives for self defence: 46% (Ian Johnston – Chief Constable British Transport Police)
  • Pupils in London Schools carrying knives: 29% (Youth Justice Board / Mori 2003)
  • Excluded Pupils carrying knives: 62% (Youth Justice Board / Mori 2003)
  • 16 year old boys admitting attacking someone with a knife – intent on causing serious injury: 1 in 5 (Youth Justice Board / Mori 2003)
  • Teenage deaths from knife attack (2004): More than 20 (Be Safe Project)

Insight Security // Knife Crime Facts

Am I implying the rise in atheism is linked to knife crime? Perhaps what I’m really implying is that you can link atheism or religion to other country statistics in anyway you see fit to demonstrate your point – something I’ve noticed the Friendly Atheist is occasionally fond of doing.

Question Everything – 1 Thes 5:21

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Posted in Analogies, Bollotics, Fact Erosion, Minitruth, Pharisees, Propaganda, Uncircumcised Philistines, Warring Memes, Xianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

[Filesharing] The Cost Of An Idea

Posted by Lex Fear on June 22, 2009

David Dunham at CaPC poses the question “So is the judge making an example out of her or does this seem like a reasonable price to pay?”

I started commenting but realised it was too long and so I’ve moved my response here.

Let’s start by saying that these fines are supposed to be representative of lost sales.

Forget the fact that many people who download music tracks wouldn’t buy them anyway (and – shockingly – might even delete the crap ones).

What I think the lawmakers have glossed over is the fact that if you fine one person for *every* *lost* *sale*, then there should be no-one left to pursue for the downloading of those tracks she shared. Ie. if I had downloaded those 24 tracks from Jamie Thomas, it’s OK because she is already paying for *my* lost sale – as well as – literally – millions of others.

I’m pro-filesharing and I file-share.

I look forward to the day that these media companies grovel in the dirt – I’ll make no bones about that fact. Increasingly I’m ‘coming out’ to many friends and people I wouldn’t have before, because I see it as a revolution, a cold war, where as many people need to be recruited as possible.

I look forward to the day that we look back on these events in history and marvel at the ignorance of the politicians and industry that supported this 21st Century ‘House of Un-American Activities’.

I see filesharing as the future – setting knowledge, information and arts free – like they used to be before the 20th Century. Perhaps it’s not ‘the future’, perhaps it’s simply restoring values of the past.

Did any of those black slaves or their families who worked in the cotton fields see a ‘dime’ for their musical contribution to the blues? Intellectual Property is about as anti-creativity as I can imagine.

How do you prevent new ideas and human progress? Introduce ownership of ideas by long lasting corporate bodies to buy up and own *ideas*, then sue anyone who independently thinks up, tries to share or improve that idea for an arm and a leg.

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Posted in Bad Company, Copywrong, Corporate Irresponsibility, Free as in Speech, Little Hitlers, Morals & Ethics, Predatory Systems, Profiteering, Resistance, Takeback, Technology, Terrorist State | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

[Whodunnit Pt. 2] Let Him Have It…

Posted by Lex Fear on June 10, 2009

Back in February I had a long comment discussion with an atheist called Postsimian which started on a post at The Friendly Atheist, but went off topic so I brought it here.

Whilst not intended, this makes an excellent follow-up to that post – Killing In The Name Of…

The gist of the discussion was one of hermeneutics. Postsimian argued that ‘if’ there was a God, he was evil, because of the certain events and commands given by God in the Old Testament, taken literally. My argument was that, as well as the need for proper exegetical context, there is a need for a greater perspective on what is written in the OT, which relies heavily on if we deem the events real or made-up.

The crux of the matter was whether God, assumedly being good, could be capable of evil – i.e. killing seemingly innocent people. Postsimians study of the OT led him to conclude that even if God is good, he is capable of evil, whereas my study of the bible leads me to conclude that certain acts of God which seem wrong on the face of it, are not when understood in context.

It later occured to me that this argument is demonstrated aptly in a film I watched years ago based on the true story of Derek Bentley called Let Him Have It. The premise of the film is of a robbery which goes disasterously wrong. During the attempted arrest, brain-damaged Bentley yells out to his younger accomplice “Let him have it” – referring to the gun, and subsequently his accomplice, Christopher Craig, shoots the policeman. For those not in the know, “Let him have it” used to be a turn of phrase in the UK for giving the go-ahead to attack someone. The question is: Did Bentley order Craig to hand over the gun, or fire it at the copper?

The real-life case, in actual fact, did not hinge upon these words, but it does prove useful for this exercise. For the police, by yelling “let him have it” Bentley was giving the order to shoot, and was therefore intending evil, and rightly deserved the death penalty. For the defence, Bentley was ordering Craig to hand over the gun and surrender.

The fact is, without any supporting evidence apart from the reading of Bentleys words, your view of Bentleys guilt will be based on your own preconceptions and bias. If you were not British and raised in the time of the 50’s you may well think that Bentley ordered Craig to surrender. However, if you were around at the time, you may have thought differently.

By now you know what I’m getting at. This is nearly the same problem when it comes to reading biblical texts literally. No, God is not going around in the OT ordering people to shoot other people, but there are times when he has commanded specific instructions and left it for his people to interpret and then act, or intercede.

More and more, it seems to me that what is not written in the OT scriptures, is more important than what is actually written.

In the end, Postsimian may be right after all about one thing, in some cases it seems like it is a mere subtle nuance. However, I must counterbalance this with the truth that in every instance of the OT where God orders the destruction of human life, as the law required (just like the American justice system), when people either interceded or pleaded for mercy, they were shown mercy.

This is why if you are going to honestly critique the Old Testament, you cannot read it literally. You need to be prepared to study a bit of history and culture at the same time. It is also why I feel I cannot emphasise enough, that God is not looking for people to carry out judgement (under the law), but instead he is looking for people to intercede and carry out mercy and forgiveness (when the law has been broken).

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Posted in Apologetics, Justice & Mercy, Laymans Theology, Xianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

[‘N’ is for…] BNP, protests and general annoyance.

Posted by BHudson on June 9, 2009

Well, the putsch has come off well, and the British Nazi Party have taken two seats in the European Parliament. As an extremist party, they won the votes because they appeared untainted by the uproar over expenses and the following witch hunt. Most people, of course vote irrationally – it seems to have been easy for some 0.7% of the population to overlook the racist fearmongering because of their concerns about immigration, and a general dissatisfaction with mainstream parties. Irrationality, of course, is at the heart of the BNP’s strength.

Nick Griffin, a man for whom I have many words and little time, is always denying his party’s racist ideals whilst endorsing Party style manuals with phrases such as ‘you should not refer to British Asians or British Muslims, for the simple reason that such people do not exist.’ Like all abhorrent groups, they thrive on oppression, which gives them a chance to whine about their freedom of speech and cast themselves as defenders of democracy. Now, I have very little sympathy for Griffin, and was even slightly pleased by the disressed look on his normally smug face as he fled the mob outside Parliament. That said, throwing eggs is yet to effect any substantial political change.

In this case, it has just let him say that they prevented him from bearing the scutiny of the media. Public scrutiny is what this party needs most. Protests are very well, but a few well placed questions in public would serve better to show just how racist they are.

Times is ‘ard, and people are angry. This produces the ‘perfect storm’ Griffin had been waiting for to give him a foothold in government. Perhaps it is the supposed detrimental effects of immigration (my view on immigrants is extremely simple, and rather unpopular these days, but that’s another post), or the fear of a loss of sovereignty, or anger at the mainstream parties, but suddenly the BNP seemed somewhat more palatable to the voters. An increasingly popular lie: ‘I know they used to be Nazi knuckle-draggers, but they’ve changed – they’re just like us, even if some of the Nazi knuckle-draggers are in the shadows.’ The truth – the Nazi knuckle-draggers are running the show. The BNP will never be civilised or worthy of a vote.

PS. Sorry for my long absence. This is really just an opinion article that seemed worthwhile regarding the recent EP elections. Now I’ve got more time, I might be able to come up with a couple of posts on political theory.

Posted in Bollotics, Fact Erosion, Free as in Speech, Little Hitlers, Opinion, Protest, Smear Campaigns, The Love of Libel | 6 Comments »