Life is a lot like a dairy pasture, in that you can’t get from one side to the other without wading through some serious bull****.
Existence is full of little irrationalities and absurdities, and we’ve got to be able to shrug them off if we’re going to maintain any sanity. That said, every once in a while we’re going to come across a steaming load of stupidity too gigantic to ignore.
Let me show you what I’m talking about:
This “12-Week” Fetus Model
I’ve probably got as many conservative friends on Facebook as I do liberal and leftist (liberal and leftist being two separate categories), so every once in a while I’ll catch something on my news-feed mocking the president, or gun control, or over-regulation. And I don’t have any issue with that. What I do take issue with is what popped onto my screen yesterday morning:
This photo claims that this is what a 12-week fetus looks like.
Let me be clear as possible.
No, it ****ing doesn’t.
Look, this isn’t about coming down on either side of the abortion debate. The fact of the matter is that the model being shown above absolutely does not accurately represent what a 12-week fetus looks like. These photos have, in one form or another, been circulating for a couple years and have been utterly discredited as false. I debated on whether or not to include an actual photo of a 12-week fetus, but I’ll let you access it here instead, along with a point-by-point breakdown of everything that photo gets wrong.
Now there’s a lot of pro-life imagery like this, and while I take issue with a lot of it, I don’t think I’ve ever come across anything quite as heinous as this photo. Whoever’s making these models knows what a 12-week fetus actually looks like, and willfully lied about it. And everyone along the line since has either been participating in the deception or has just been passing the image along without bothering to check its accuracy. That is some grade-A ****, people, and especially bad considering its coming from pro-lifers. The core of their argument is that a person is a person, no matter what they look like. But then why make a fake, people? Why try to make the fetus look more like a fully developed baby? This is some staggering hypocrisy which should offend you no matter where you fall on the question. Don’t let it get any further than it already has.
And speaking of lies going too far.
Horus, Mithras, Dionysus, and Jesus
I have a pretty big chunk of atheist friends as well, and it seems that not a month goes by without one of these pictures (in one shape or another) getting passed around again:
While the debate on the divinity of Jesus has raged since the time Jesus actually walked the earth, a recent trend seems to have arisen in which folks are arguing not just against the divinity of Jesus, but against the very existence of such a person. Now that’s a ballsy move, I can’t deny that. But then again, so’s jumping out of an airplane without a parachute, and in the end, both the argument and you fall pretty flat.
Let me break it down here.
Jesus’s existence is supported not only through biblical texts, but through historical evidence as well. The contemporary historian Josephus makes comments regarding Jesus largely accepted by the academic community as authentic, as are the references made by Tacitus.
Now the folks spreading these images might say “Okay, there probably was some guy called Jesus, but all the other details got ripped off of these gods. The Jesus-story is just a cheap knockoff.”
Okay, that’s closer to a real point, but it’s still painfully wrong.
First, there’s the logic issue. Stating that these similarities remove the validity of the Jesus-story is what you’d call a “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy, that is, “because B follows A, B must be caused by A.”
That’s not logically sound.I might wake up one day and put on a white t-shirt, and it might be just like the white t-shirt James Dean used to wear. That doesn’t mean that I’m wearing that white t-shirt because I’m copying the 50s movie icon. Crying wolf over and over might cause you to doubt me as a source, but not the inherent possibility of there being a wolf. The Jesus-story could share every single detail with the Horus-story and neither one would be inherently disproved.
That’d be tough, however, seeing as how Jesus and Horus don’t share squat.
Virgin birth? Yeah, I have no clue where folks are getting that from. Horus was believed to have been the son of Isis, or according to an obscure tradition, Hathor. No where in his extensive worship is there substantive reference to virgin birth. Likewise lacking is any substantive reference to crucifixion, disciples, preaching, and well, pretty much everything else listed up there (most of which comes not from Egyptian mythology but from 19th century poet Gerald Massey. Same goes for Mithras (born as an adolescent out of a rock, not as a baby from a virgin) and Dionysus (born from Zeus and and the mortal Semele). There are similarities here and there, but only when you start picking from obscure texts and traditions spread out over thousands of years. There’s stronger links between President JFK and punk rock band The Dead Kennedys than between these figures and the Jesus-story, and trying to do otherwise just doesn’t make sense. If you want to argue that the Jesus-story flies in the face of logic and reason then try to use logic and reason to refute it, not ****ing pseudo-science. It’s embarrassing for all of us.
Now one more point.
Since September, thousands upon thousands of Hong Kong citizens have occupied their city’s downtown area in protest of mainland China’s restrictions of their democratic rights. In spite of police attempts to clear the camps, the protestors have managed to hold their positions, earning them the applause and support of folks all around the world, including the media here in the West.
And you know what? That’s wonderful. I’m happy the brave men and women fighting for their rights in Hong Kong are getting the attention they deserve. But am I the only one who remembers the media’s disdain for Occupy in our own country? Am I the only one who heard the major outlets parrot that the demands weren’t clear enough? That the protestors couldn’t be effective without designated leaders?
Well, Hong Kong is using the exact same techniques, following the exact same patterns, and the media couldn’t be more happy. When it happens over in Tahrir Square or downtown Hong Kong, it’s an expression of peaceful civil disobedience. When it happens in lower Manhattan or Ferguson, it’s a mob. After all, it’s a hell of a lot easier to sell the heroic, oppressed foreigner standing up for his or her rights than to broach the subject of corruption in this country. I mean, that the media’s *****ing job, and when folks protest in this country, it speaks as much to journalism’s failures as it does the government’s.
Like Smokey the Bear says, people, on you can prevent mass idiocy. If some friends or family start trying to send you that junk, you shut ’em the **** down. Lord knows there’s enough dumb stuff in life- we don’t need to pile any more on, we clear?