August 4, 2008

"Is anyone as unsurprised as I am that he's a Leo?"

There you have it, friends. The most inane Andrew Sullivan post about Barack Obama ever.

97 comments:

Seven Machos said...

I worked with someone once who had recently completed a Ph.D. in literature from a fancy Ivy League school. She was adamantly an atheist and she thought religious people were dupes who cling to a mythology.

I always found it interesting that she was also hugely and seriously into astrology.

This is a very common phenomenon. It's fascinating.

XWL said...

Wait long enough, and Mr. Sullivan will come to denounce whatever position he holds currently.

(partly why I don't go over there, it's no fun, even if just to poke fun at him, Sullivan is devoid of meaning)

(I was all ready to post angrily about his post on the books read by that nut in Tennessee, but why bother?)

A post referencing astrology, inane, indeed, though.

I doubt it will continue to be the most inane post ever, there are a lot of months left till election day.

Should The One get elected, I suspect that some time by March, Mr. Sullivan will become deeply disillusioned with the lack of progress made by the disappointingly conventional Obama Administration.

Should that other one (who is not The One) somehow steal the election through the usual nefarious GOP tricks, I suspect that we'll have years worth of Sully posts highlighting all the wonderful things that would have happened had the US Electorate shown more sense than to reject The One.

I doubt he'll be worth reading for the duration of the next administration, regardless of which one is elected.

William said...

Records are made to be broken.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Sullivan is a Leo, after all, and Leos are notoriously susceptible to pseudosciences like astrology.

TMink said...

I concur with William!

"The most inane Andrew Sullivan post about Barack Obama ever."

Give the man time. Just a little time, it is all he needs.

Trey

SteveR said...

"inane Andrew Sullivan" but I repeat myself...

rhhardin said...

It's time to defend astrology. here.

TitusSantaClaraVanguard said...

You are obsessed with that gay fellow, Sullivan.

dr kill said...

Labels: Andrew Sullivan, lameness, Obama, stupid

Hahahahaha, I greatly enjoy an occasional glance in A. S. 's direction. His middle name couldn't possibly also begin with an 'S', could it? I was disappointed not to discover an article related to the above comment, so I consoled myself with a short peek at his past post identified as 'Back to Shore'. I suggest a better title might be 'Andrew Sullivan has a high opinion of himself'.

I eagerly anticipate checking his blog for more of his wisdom sometime in 2009 or 2010. Perhaps we could learn more about some other topics of interest to the summertime residents of P-town.

I also wish to see Mr. or Ms. Machos put up or shut up on that atheist equals astrology bullshit.

TitusSantaClaraVanguard said...

There is no hyphen in Ptown.

It's just Ptown.

Seven Machos said...

atheist equals astrology

Please reread. I am merely noting that many well-educated elitists do not believe in God but believe strongly in astrology. They ridicule religious belief but blithely believe in something that logically must be equally if not more ridiculous.

I would find it hard to believe that I am the only person who has noticed this phenomenon.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

The majority of his posts are so perpetually inane and narcissistic and weepy and self-aggrandizing that whenever I look at his blog (which is often because I'm an idiot), I feel like I'm getting a bird's eye view of a psychoanalyst's playhouse.

vbspurs said...

Sullivan is a Leo, after all, and Leos are notoriously susceptible to pseudosciences like astrology.

The hell you say!

My birthday is in 3 days, and it's Obama's birthday today.

We're both of us STAUNCH STAUNCH Christians.

/Edie Bouvier accent.

Cheers,
Victoria

Methadras said...

Little Miss Sullivan and inanity sometimes go hand in hand don't they? Or is it hand to mouth. Oh Dear.

TitusSantaClaraVanguard said...

Andrew Sullivan is the definition of Drama Queen.

ricpic said...

Is he on the cusp?

AllenS said...

Maybe it's nothing more than Leo's being more susceptible to HIV.

Revenant said...

I am merely noting that many well-educated elitists do not believe in God but believe strongly in astrology.

"Many"? That's nothing but weasel words. Name ten such people.

Seven Machos said...

Rev, there's the person I spoke of. There are two people I know from professional school. That's off the top of my head.

Did I say that all atheists believe in astrology? No. Most? No. More than half? No.

Don't be an idiot. Get some coffee and a massage or something and come back here, and tell me: do you dispute that there is a noticeable contingent of atheists who believe in astrology?

Greg Toombs said...

And the worms ate into his brain.

ricpic said...

If Obama is on the cusp it would explain a lot.

Pastafarian said...

Seven Machos -- Sorry, but I'm with "Dr Kill" on this one. I've known a lot of atheists, and I've never known one that puts any stock in astrology. In fact, this seems to be an oxymoron.

This word, "atheist". I think that it does not mean what you think it means.

Perhaps you're defining Transcendental Meditation hippies as atheists, because they don't go to the usual church or synagogue. But they're not atheists by my definition -- not as long as they believe in the supernatural, like, say, astral projection, or like astrology. Even if there isn't a central overriding deity in their religion, it's still a religion.

Or perhaps you're thinking of someone like Andrew Sullivan. Maybe he claims that he's an atheist; but he also claims that he's conservative. So I guess we shouldn't pay much attention to his claims.

So, if you have any actual examples of this supposedly widespread phenomenon, please feel free to cite them by name, perhaps even with links to passages where they've stated that they're atheists, and that they follow astrology. That would be great.

Otherwise, it's a little like me finding one example of a Christian who likes to defecate in his pants and then smear it on the walls; and then stating that this is, in fact, a very common trait among Christians, with no evidence but this one example.

walter neff said...

"Otherwise, it's a little like me finding one example of a Christian who likes to defecate in his pants and then smear it on the walls; and then stating that this is, in fact, a very common trait among Christians, with no evidence but this one example."

I see you have met Doyle.

sonicfrog said...

Pasta, Andrew is a Christian.

dr kill said...

What I meant to say was that most of the atheists I know with Doctorates from fancy Ivy League schools flatly reject astrology in favor of the ever-so-much-more-accurate Tarot.

http://www.flarn.com/~warlock/tarot/

I recently tested the Tarot reading at this site, and find the Tarot card I most closely resemble is(naturally) 'The Sun'. I won't bore you with the results, but they closely track with my own opinion of myself.

Hey, the arcane can be true! Even if not grammatically correct.

I need some help finding out what(sic) card A. S. is. Based on what I know of him, the only question I can answer is number four. Heh. I'm glad it's not myanus.

Titus, did you mean to say there is no whyomen in P-town?

sonicfrog said...

But yeah, I don't think you can get more fan-boyish over Obama than Sullivan.

Pastafarian said...

Sonicfrog -- Sorry, I don't read much of Andrew Sullivan. I mostly read about him, from people complaining about how awful he is. I assumed that he was an atheist -- otherwise, I'm really not sure how this sub-thread got started in the first place.

In Seven's defense, I suppose that if he's very rigidly defining "atheist" to mean "one who does not believe in a deity", then I suppose that his claim isn't an outright oxymoron.

But I still don't buy that it's widespread, this phenomenon of astrology-following atheists. Unless you're counting those TM hippies as atheists.

But just because they don't call these mysterious forces that bind us all together and determine destinies "God" doesn't make them atheists. If they believe in these supernatural forces, then they believe in a deity, whether they call it that or not. They're pseudo-atheists.

Adopting a belief system that forces one to acknowledge one's own mortality, and the mortality of one's own children, isn't easy. It takes a sort of moral courage and intellectual honesty. (It also takes an absence of faith, which isn't necessarily a desirable trait -- in some ways it's a little like missing a limb, since the presence of such faith is clearly the norm). But the idea that many such people, who possess this degree of courage, honesty, and skepticism, then commonly fall prey to astrological hokum strikes me as both absurd and insulting.

Palladian said...

"Pasta, Andrew is a Christian."

No, he's Roman Catholic.

Palladian said...

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Steven said...

Pastafarian, that rationalist physicalism requires atheism does not mean that atheism requires rationalist physicalism.

Atheist means no more and no less than not believing in any gods; it does not necessarily include a generalized disbelief in the existence of the supernatural. A person can simultaneously believe in, for example, an immortal soul subject to reincarnation, and that there are no deities.

Randy said...

Should The One get elected, I suspect that some time by March, Mr. Sullivan will become deeply disillusioned

Do you think it will take that long?

Palladian said...

Actually Sullivan is a "Roman Catholic", not a Roman Catholic or a Roman Catholic even.

He's definitely not a Roman Catholic though.

Palladian said...

♌!

Palladian said...

Today is also Helen Thomas's birthday. Coincidence?!

Joan said...

Good Lord, Palladian, I was distressed enough to find I share my birthday with the Obamessiah, and now you tell me it's Helen Thomas' birthday, too? Fortunately your riff on Andrew's RC status still has me smiling.

I thought once you reached legal drinking age it was appropriate to just ignore your birthday. Of course you should be gracious when friends and family wish you a happy day, but that's quite enough to mark the passage of time.

Revenant said...

Did I say that all atheists believe in astrology? No. Most? No. More than half? No.

You said "many" and that it was "a very common phenomenon". Like I pointed out in my first post, that's a weaselly way of phrasing it. Is it "very common" for Christian conservatives to want all homosexuals killed?

do you dispute that there is a noticeable contingent of atheists who believe in astrology?

Around forty to fifty percent of Americans believe in astrology at all. Among the "elite" -- people with PhDs and the like -- the percentage is dramatically smaller. The percentage among atheists is smaller (around half) what it is for the non-atheists. Then, of course, you must narrow that further to eliminate the folk who don't "seriously" believe in astrology, which is almost all of them. That suggests to me that the percentage of elite atheists who are hugely and seriously into astrology is probably negligible.

So like I said, name ten. Make them people we've heard of. Me, I've met a grand total of zero other atheists -- "elite" or otherwise -- who were "hugely and seriously" into astrology, so my gut instinct is that you're full of shit; your inability and/or unwillingness to defend your claim with something other than ad hominem attacks strengthens this impression.

Pastafarian said...

Steven -- I think that this is just semantics and hair-splitting. If we go with the narrow definition of "atheist", then I suppose that some Buddhists are atheists. They don't believe in one omnipotent God.

But I seem to recall some sort of "deities" associated with Buddhism -- multiple-armed elephants and what-not. Just because they're not omnipotent doesn't mean they're not deities.

Even if there is a branch of Buddhism that doesn't include divine incarnations with multiple limbs, I'd say that whatever the underlying mechanism is that they believe is responsible for their reincarnation, it's a supernatural force. Even if it doesn't have a face, it's still a god, whether they call it a god, or a force, or a mechanism.

So I disagree: If you think you're going to be reincarnated, then you're no atheist.

And let's be honest: The word atheist, as it's currently used, doesn't just mean "someone who doesn't believe in a deity". It means someone who favors natural explanations of physical reality over the supernatural.

Montagne Mointaigne said...

Paraphrasing, Zachary said "The majority of posts are so perpetually inane and self-aggrandizing that whenever I look at the blog (which is often because I'm an idiot), I feel like I'm getting a bird's eye view of a psychoanalyst's playhouse."

Thanks for summing up exactly how I feel about Althouse...

Henry said...

I find it hard just bumping into other atheists.

But then, I'm an apathiest, so what do I know?

Pogo said...

Montagne Mointaigne
Those turnaround/that's-what-she-said type posts are the most sophomoric rejoinders around, completely lacking wit or inventiveness.
Criminey.

Methadras said...

sonicfrog said...

Pasta, Andrew is a Christian.


And to Little Miss Sullivan, everyone else is a Christianist.

Revenant said...

But I seem to recall some sort of "deities" associated with Buddhism -- multiple-armed elephants and what-not.

That's Hinduism you're thinking of.

There are branches of Buddhism which are technically atheistic, but most have what amounts to gods.

Obama bin Jesus said...

Like, OMIGOD!!! I sooooo thought Barack was a scorpio!!!

A word of advice to everyone. If you're ever at Andrew's house and you see a magazine with an article about Obama in it in the bathroom--DON'T TOUCH IT! It won't open anyway.

Chip Ahoy said...

My brother is a Leo. Ha ha ha ha. Leo. I mean he was born in August. August, so named for one of the Caesars, but in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred something or other. In'nat a weird calendar mash up? Anyway, I made a card. It goes in the mail tomorrow.

Seven Machos said...

I am extrapolating from what I have witnessed, Rev. That's all. I'm sorry you have decided to get bitchy about it.

Let's call the United States population three hundred million. Let's say that five percent is atheist. That's 15 million. Let's say that of this 15 million, 10 percent is into astrology. That's 1.5 million. That's many.

If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. I'm surprised you give such a fuck.

blake said...

Pasta,

What you describe is not atheism, its materialism. And it's an important distinction, if you want to discuss the issues.

I think that this is just semantics and hair-splitting.

Because you're a materialist. To you anything non-material (anything supernatural) is safely classified as hokum.

If we go with the narrow definition of "atheist", then I suppose that some Buddhists are atheists. They don't believe in one omnipotent God.

Indeed. Buddhism, under Buddha, was non-denominational. You could be a Buddhist and an atheist or agnostic.

But I seem to recall some sort of "deities" associated with Buddhism -- multiple-armed elephants and what-not.

You have confused Buddhism and Hinduism. This is not entirely your fault, as Hinduism's response to Buddhism was to incorporate him into their broad pantheon of deities.

And though Buddha maintained that he was an ordinary man, it only took for him to die for his followers to deify him. And then split into the major sects Mahayana and Hinayana, details of which are too complex for here.

Just because they're not omnipotent doesn't mean they're not deities.

They're also not Buddhism.

Even if there is a branch of Buddhism that doesn't include divine incarnations with multiple limbs, I'd say that whatever the underlying mechanism is that they believe is responsible for their reincarnation, it's a supernatural force.

Actually, reincarnation is Hinduism as well. Buddhist concepts of rebirth are rather different.

Even if it doesn't have a face, it's still a god, whether they call it a god, or a force, or a mechanism.

You mean, like gravity?

So I disagree: If you think you're going to be reincarnated, then you're no atheist.

Then you're using your own definitions for words. That's fine, but you'll want to make sure other people know that's what you mean.

And let's be honest: The word atheist, as it's currently used, doesn't just mean "someone who doesn't believe in a deity".

I guess it depends on who's using it and what they think redefining the word would prove.

It means someone who favors natural explanations of physical reality over the supernatural.

Right. Because there are no Christian physicists, and all people who believe in any way that anything exists beyond the material are just superstitious yahoos.

Adopting a belief system that forces one to acknowledge one's own mortality, and the mortality of one's own children, isn't easy. It takes a sort of moral courage and intellectual honesty.

Huh. When you say "one" what do you mean exactly? One what?

The permutation of molecules that posts here under "pastafarian" and feels extra-special when he wears his "WWFSMD?" t-shirt, is certainly not the same permutation of molecules that was around 14 years ago. Nor the one that will be around 100 years from now.

That aside, do you really think it's any less courageous to believe that, not only do you have an existence beyond the physical, that your actions in one very short window of time will determine how you experience the rest of that existence for eternity? And that part of that includes convincing others of that? Or that you'll be judged on every action you take?

I mean, if I'm Christian, I'm responsible for you! At some level, it's my job to help you see things my way. The stakes are high!

If you're an atheist, what does it matter to you if I'm Christian or not? (Oh, but it seems to matter so greatly to some, doesn't it?)

If I'm Hindu, maybe I think you're engaged in a cowardly attempt to deny that you've lived before. What did you do that was so horrible, you have to pretend you're not responsible for it? :-)

I'm not saying atheists haven't undergone some persecution, etc. I don't think it compares to what other religions have undergone (and what they continue to undergo, sometimes at the hands of materialists).

But as a philosophical stance? I don't see any courage in either atheism or materialism.

Maybe you can enlighten me on where the bravery is. And how much a mole of it weighs.

Revenant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PatCA said...

If I were Andrew's boyfriend, I would be seriously worried at this point.

I keep hearing Cher in Moonstruck: Snap out of it!

Revenant said...

I am extrapolating from what I have witnessed, Rev. That's all.

Extrapolating a larger societal trend from your limited personal experience is fine, provided you're bright enough to handle the possibility that your hastily-constructed generalization is wrong. You aren't, so you probably shouldn't.

I've known a couple of openly gay men who were also devout fundamentalist Christians. If I took that fact and said "it is very common for fundamentalist Christians to be gay" I would sound like an asshole. That's the problem you're having here.

That's 15 million. Let's say that of this 15 million, 10 percent is into astrology. That's 1.5 million

Ten percent of atheists are "well-educated elitists" who "believe strongly in astrology"? Just how far up your ass is your head shoved, anyway?

Or are you simply trying to move the goalposts here? I wouldn't be surprised if ten percent of atheists occasionally read the horoscopes in the newspaper, especially since I do so myself (they're amusing). But that's a far cry from your original claims of "serious belief" among "educated elites".

Pogo said...

Does Sullivan write for Teen Beat?

Middle Class Guy said...

My sign is skull and cross bones. So what?

Seven Machos said...

This is really your problem, Rev. You often have trenchant analysis, but too often you are an asshole.

In this case, my guess would be that your anger ultimately stems from the fact that you are an atheist and, in my denigrating some atheists, you feel like I am denigrating all of them, including you. That has not been the case.

As for your most recent post, if you want to say I am not bright, fine. Certainly, I have made this very argument against many others.

Meade said...

Remember: Althouse was born January 12, 1951. Just like Rush Hudson Limbaugh III.

Reportedly, they both make $33 million a year.

Coincidence? I don't think so.

Seven Machos said...

I would pay $100 to see Rush Limbaugh and Ann Althouse eat lunch together. Two hundred dollars if messy, oozy egg salad sandwiches are involved.

Larry said...

Why does an apparently intelligent person read Andrew Sullivan?

Ever?

XWL said...

If you can't beat them, out do them.

Sullivan wants to fawn and drool all over Obama . . .,


I'll show you what fawning and drooling really looks like.

And, Happy 47th Birthday, Sen. Obama.

Meade said...

Just imagine how wealthy Rush Limbaugh would be if he were to marry Ann Althouse:
- Combined annual income of $66,000,100.00.
- He would receive all the benefits available to the spouse of a tenured University of Wisconsin law professor.
- Plus, he would gain access to all of the slutty egg salad sandwiches she eschewed.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

If there were ever anyone to turn me against Obama, it would be Sullivan. Not McCain or any of his operatives or, sorry, any of you could turn me...but Sullivan could. He makes me feel ashamed and embarrassed in ways I won't get into here.

Oh, and fellas, I'm a Taurus. Wink wink honk honk xoxoxo.

P.S. I got laid off today...party time!

sonicfrog said...

Palladian, though I no longer practice, I was raised a Roman Catholic, or should I say - rO-MAN cAtHo-LIC!!!

Revenant said...

In this case, my guess would be that your anger ultimately stems from the fact that you are an atheist

Get over yourself, Seven. I'm not angry with you. I'm criticizing you for the same reason I criticize people like AlphaLiberal -- you're making dumb statements and sticking to them, and not very honestly at that.

As for your most recent post, if you want to say I am not bright, fine.

I'm sorry, did the guy who told me to "not be an idiot" just complain that I questioned his intelligence? Seven, I have no idea if you're intelligent or not, but what intelligence you have is not being used very capably here. It is pretty clear that you generalized from the couple of highly educated fervently astrology-believing atheists you supposedly know, imagining that this was part of some "common phenomenon" and not, like my gay Christian fundamentalists, an anomaly. You ought to have the common sense to recognize that you're probably wrong -- or, alternatively, come up with evidence supporting your original claim, rather than your fallback position of "some percentage of atheists have some sort of belief in astrology", which is both obviously true and completely useless as information.

Revenant said...

Why does an apparently intelligent person read Andrew Sullivan? Ever?

He's a good writer, if you look at his articles in isolation from one another. If you look at them all together you start to wonder if the man has ever formed a coherent thought in his life.

Lawgiver said...

In this case, my guess would be that your anger ultimately stems from the fact that you are an atheist and, in my denigrating some atheists, you feel like I am denigrating all of them, including you.

I think you nailed it Seven. The Rev doth protest too much.

rcocean said...

Sully used to write for "Teen Beat" but got fired. He was too emotional, gossipy, and got big crushes on all the cute guys.

Seven Machos said...

some percentage of atheists have some sort of belief in astrology

Even if I have met the only ones in the world, it's still fascinating. You find one set of arguably superstitious beliefs antiquated and implausible but you are, well, religious about another set of superstitious beliefs. I mean, come on, man. That's interesting.

Revenant said...

Even if I have met the only ones in the world, it's still fascinating. You find one set of arguably superstitious beliefs antiquated and implausible but you are, well, religious about another set of superstitious beliefs

A lot of people have a need for something to fill that religious urge, whether it is an actual religion, or something like astrology, or communism or environmentalism or what have you.

I don't understand it, but I agree that it is interesting. :)

LoafingOaf said...

Seven, there's nothing "interesting" about a "phenomenon" that is almost entirely of your own imagination.

First of all, you begin this thread with your claims about elite atheists being "hugely and seriously into astrology" in a thread about Andrew Sullivan getting a boner about Obama being a Leo. Andrew Sullivan is not only not an atheist, he's a very serious and committed Christian who has had an entire, extensive blog debate with a best-selling atheist writer. So who even gets why you bring up your "phenomenon" in this thread to begin with?

Secondly, most atheists I know think astrology is just about the must ridiculous thing going. Many who dutifully read their Richard Dawkins books don't even consider the silly horoscopes that appear in major newspapers and magazines to be just harmless fun. If anything, atheists tend to be so anti-astrology that they come off as killjoys!

-----

As for Andrew Sullivan. A post like this is silly, but I also appreciate his honesty. He doesn't hide the fact that he's not just endorsing Obama, but he's crushing hard over him and his emotions are completely swept up in Obamamania. It's good that he doesn't censor this since that is what's going on in his head. He still has a lot of good stuff to say about the campaign, but the reader is aware of what's going on with his emotions.

I know people love to rag on Sullivan. I have sometimes too. But he's a good guy, he means well, and despite all his faults he can be pretty smart too.

Methadras said...

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Oh, and fellas, I'm a Taurus. Wink wink honk honk xoxoxo.

P.S. I got laid on today...party time!


Fixed for truth. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more.

Inspektor Friedrich said...

Well, I think the "atheist" vs. astrology-believer question is an interesting one, because, I, too, like Seven Machos, have run into more than a few. It is, Loafingoaf, a phenomenon not only in Seven Machos' imagination, but something I have discussed with many people. Of course, we all live in different worlds. What is interesting to one is worthless to another. That should be the value of these discussions.

Now, I really shouldn't use the word "atheist" here, because although it might have been the proper sense in the 17th century to mean someone who didn't believe in the Christian God, today it means someone who doesn't believe in God, period.

I can categorically say that I never met a "classic" materialist-atheist, such as Revenant, who professed a belief in Astrology. But I have met about 20 people who wouldn't be caught dead in a church or synagogue, but who were otherwise into what might be thought of as "New Age" spiritual activity, who were believers to one degree or another in Astrology.

Should these people be categorized as "atheists" because they didn't believe in the conventional view of God? I can say with certainty, given the context, which I won't go into for lack of space to do it justice, that all of these people had had "classic" mystical/enlightenment experiences, and were firmly attached to the idea of the Transcendent. In other words, the were NOT materialists in any way, but not conventionally religious people, either.

I thought it rather odd, because the context was of a group that was exploring mysticism, the mystical experience, enlightenment and our relationship with it, etc. These were people, like myself, for whom even Buddhism was too fraught with liturgical baggage, and yet, nearly 20% believed in Astrology.

That was the beginning of a rather precipitious end for me and this particular crew of "enlightened" folk. All this happened in Germany in the late '70's. I may tell you I have been around the block with the New Age on two continents and over 20 years, before returning to conventional religion in the past 12-14 years. But that is another story.

I realize this rambling and not very specific reminiscence may not have much value, because it does not contain generalizations or data to support one view or another. However, I thought it interesting at the time. My own conclusion is that people who are interested in the Transcendent and have had mystical experiences, are more willing to entertain all sorts of ideas about the essential illusory nature of everyday experience. In a psychological effort to look behind those illusions, one finds alternative disciplines and systems that promise to help. This is rather sad, because Astrology is such BS, and a very crooked crutch.

I am a great believer in data. I could find easily on the Internet no direct sociometric data correlating atheism with belief in astrology. However, I did find this rather long and reasonably interesting thread, discussing all this.

John Stodder said...

Only a few people will get this LA-specific reference, but it applies here:

Andrew Sullivan has gone the Leonard Tose Route.

His used to be the first blog I would read each day. He was ideologically unpredictable and his analysis of current events was solid. Now he's Arriana Huffington, but completely uninteresting. Did Bush do this to him? Obama? His meds?

I think if someone wanted to perform the cruelest act imaginable on Sullivan, they would start a blog called "That Was the Andrew Sullivan That Was," and each day put up a post from the corresponding day in, oh, 2000. The comparison would be shocking.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Inane and Sullivan is kinda redundant isn't it?

Pogo said...

It's just possible that Sullivan's blog address has been hijacked by a parody site.

Next post:
Girlfriend, did you see his shoes?! Like O.M.G.!!

bearbee said...

I thought Flipper would be a Pisces or something.

Pissed Off Hillbilly said...

I think he's a feces.

Ger said...

Gee...I like Sullivan.

For those that don't read him often he was originally a McCainiac but he was so incensed by McCrazy's support of the use of torture that he switched from McSame to Obama.

Pogo said...

"...McCrazy's support of the use of torture..."

Bullshit.

Revenant said...

he was originally a McCainiac but he was so incensed by McCrazy's support of the use of torture

Eh, I'll concede that Sullivan is probably ditzy enough to think McCain supports torture. But the notion that Sullivan is a *reluctant* Obama supporter? That's just silly.

Pastafarian said...

Blake --

It's interesting that in one post, you both a) minimize the persecution of atheists, and b) mock them with snide remarks like "how much of a mole it (courage) weighs".

Implying, I guess, that atheists don't know what courage is, or don't believe in it. Because it isn't composed of molecules.

Is there any other religious stance out there that you'd feel so free to brazenly attack? Or does the term religious bigotry only apply when the victim is religious?

Where is the courage in atheism? Are you being obtuse? Do you think that I want to look at my daughter and know that she has a finite life? Wouldn't it be easier for me to believe what I would like to believe, rather than what my rational mind tells me is true?

Rarely do I resort to profanity in the hallowed Althouse comments section, but you, Blake, are an asshole.

If you were worth it, I could dissect your comment line by line, as you've done mine; but I wouldn't just dismiss important points with one-liners, as you've done here. For example: The kernel of my argument is the fact that, if a religion believes in reincarnation (referring to Steven's thoughtful rejoinder at 6:56pm), then I don't think that their adherents are atheists, because whatever the underlying supernatural force or mechanism is that causes this reincarnation, it's essentially a god, whether they call it that or not.

It's a supernatural force, which these adherents have faith exists. It might not be a personalized entity, but I would still consider this a god, even if they call it a mechanism or a force.

Your witty response: "You mean, like gravity?"

Yes, shithead, exactly like gravity. The mysterious force that causes people to be reincarnated is precisely the same as gravity. Well, except for the whole general relativity thing, pretty much explaining why we have gravity. And the fact that I can actually observe, measure, and quantify it.

I'd continue, but you're not worth the trouble, you sneering little bigot.

rcocean said...

Thanks for confirming what we all suspect of atheists - they suffer from Autism to one degree or another.

blake said...

Pastafarian--

I think it's interesting that you attack every other religion as "irrational" but are so thin-skinned about your own beliefs.

There are words to describe someone who waxes poetic talking about how courageous and honest his own group is, and how much a burden it is to be so honest and courageous, and then turns around and calls someone else a "bigot".

For a double-word score, you ignorantly smeared the bulk of the world's population (current and historical) and followed that up by calling me the asshole?

(I'm not denying I am, mind you, I'm just saying it's a big club.)

Anyway, my one-liners were meant to lighten the mood. Epic fail there.

But I will apologize for one thing: It is courageous to stand by what you believe to be true when it's unpopular or unpleasant. I don't know what you personally endure as a result of your beliefs, and if I implied that I did and trivialized it, I'm sorry.

My intention was to point out that other viewpoints can equally well claim bravery, and consider atheism cowardly.

Would I attack any other religious stance this way? Probably not, unless it smeared all non-believers.

Are you willing to admit that you have, in fact, taken a religious stance? And not only a religious stance, but the stance that your religion is composed of people who are just plain better than others? You know, freeer-thinking, not bogged down with superstition, and just plain "brighter"?

Do you think that I want to look at my daughter and know that she has a finite life?

Do you think a Christian wants to look at his daughter and know that she could burn in Hell for eternity? (Which is worse? Non-existence or an eternity of torture?)

I'm inclined to think you're just ignorant of religion in general. Religion is the very font of difficult decisions and uncomfortable philosophical stances.

Buddha said, "All life is suffering." Hindus believe we're trapped in an illusion of reality. Some Muslim sects apparently believe they have to blow their own children up.

Calvinism, I think, says that you only have a chance to get to Heaven according to decisions made at the dawn of Creation, and if you're one of the lucky few, your only real freedom is to screw up. (How's that for a kick in the crotch? God exists, heaven exists, but you didn't win the lottery!)

Forgive me if I'm not impressed by the harshness of the materialist philosophy (which, by the way, is as old as Ancient Egypt).

Gay Catholic guys who actually follow their religion by not acting on their homosexuality (to link back to Andrew Sullivan, sort of)--now that's impressive.

Wouldn't it be easier for me to believe what I would like to believe, rather than what my rational mind tells me is true?

If you mean, do people take comfort from religion, sure. But that comfort comes at a high price: They have to do stuff.

Usually they have to obey a code of ethics (no "free-thinking" allowed, eh, what?), they're required to take action, they're limited in what they can do.

They have to answer to an ideal--knowing, by the way, that they fail to meet it every day. And for that, they get comfort--maybe.

You adopt a nihilistic world view, you don't have to do nothin', but you don't get nothin' for it. What could be easier than that?

it's essentially a god, whether they call it that or not.

Yeah? What if you come back to this world and take up a new body on your own accord?

Where's the god there? By what definition?

Can you really say that you've accounted for all possible permutations of spiritualism, and that they are equivalent and unworthy of distinguishing from forms of theism?

Really?

Revenant said...

Thanks for confirming what we all suspect of atheists - they suffer from Autism to one degree or another.

Actually, rc, not everyone's an ignorant asshole. It's mostly just a few guys like you.

Revenant said...

Minor quibble: a mole is not a unit of weight, damnit. A mole is approximately 602 sextillion of something, usually molecules. A mole of something can have any weight or mass, depending on what the thing is. And asking how much courage weighs is about as silly as asking how much blue weighs; something doesn't need mass to be a property of something in the material universe. This concludes today's science lesson.

Now then, blake:

you ignorantly smeared the bulk of the world's population (current and historical) and followed that up by calling me the asshole?

He "smeared" people... where, exactly? All I see is you taking offense at the notion that he thinks atheism requires a degree of courage.

As for the notion that religion takes courage because your actions now determine your future for all eternity, I think your Christian-o-centrism is showing; not all religions believe that. Religions that allow for rebirth, for example, let you fix your screwups in this life, in the next. That's much more lenient than thinking you just get one shot and that's it.

But as for Christianity itself, the reason it takes little courage is that it is impossible to permanently screw up unless you die in the act of committing a mortal sin. Forgiveness is always open; even Hitler, in theory, would have been allowed into Heaven if he had seen the evil of his ways and genuinely repented his sins. Now, it *would* take courage to think you were risking Hell by sinning and then go ahead and sin anyway without feeling any remorse for it. But I don't think any sane person has ever done that; nobody voluntarily goes to Hell if they realize that is the consequence of their actions. If a Christian, while high on PCP, pushes some old lady in front of a bus and is later tortured with guilt over it, he can seek salvation in the arms of Jesus. If an atheist does that... he has to live with what he's done. Knowing that there is nobody to forgive him, because the only person with the right to forgive him is dead.

That's where I differ a bit from Pasta, actually. Being an atheist doesn't take any courage at all; I didn't choose to be an atheist. What takes courage is living a good life even though there's nothing "out there" to grade your spiritual report card.

Historical note:

I'm not saying atheists haven't undergone some persecution, etc. I don't think it compares to what other religions have undergone (and what they continue to undergo, sometimes at the hands of materialists).

Given that Communists aren't materialists (as they define reality by the needs of the state/revolution, not by how things actually are), I'm not sure exactly who these supposedly religion-persecuting "materialists" are.

But that aside, your claim is historically ridiculous. Communist countries persecuted (and in the few remaining cases, persecute) religious people more than atheists, yes. In all the other countries of the world, and all the rest of human history, anywhere that religious people are/were being persecuted, atheists are/were being persecuted as well -- usually in a worse manner. Atheism was and is punishable under Islamic law, for example, and atheism was illegal throughout Europe, until recently, since before there even WAS a Christianity.

So please -- Jews and a few other miscellaneous minor faiths (e.g. Zoroastrians) can put in a good claim for having been persecuted worse than atheists. Christians and Muslims? Sorry, but no dice. Both faiths have spent far more time persecuting (around 3000 years between them) than being persecuted.

tsfiles said...

Sullivan is right. Obama is the typical Leo.

Obama's persona is mainly emotion, with little intellect. Much like Bill Clinton (another Leo) he is an egomaniac who demands attention and is most happy in front of a crowd (the bigger, the better). He's pretty thin skinned, too. The only Leo trait Obama appears to lack is that of a bully, which we could still see appear as the campaign goes on.

Seven Machos said...

What takes courage is living a good life even though there's nothing "out there" to grade your spiritual report card.

Jews have been doing this for thousands of years.

Seven Machos said...

ts: do you believe in religion?

tsfiles said...

"So please -- Jews and a few other miscellaneous minor faiths (e.g. Zoroastrians) can put in a good claim for having been persecuted worse than atheists. Christians and Muslims? Sorry, but no dice. Both faiths have spent far more time persecuting (around 3000 years between them) than being persecuted."

Please educate me. I'd love an example of when and how Christians persecuted anyone. Responding with "the Crusades" will only reveal you to be ignorant of the Crusades.

Seven Machos said...

Christians have persecuted many. Let's not be silly here. Whittaker Chambers was thrown out of Columbia in late 1920s for writing a play mildly, mildly mocking Christianity. Bertrand Russell had trouble getting a professorship at CUNY as late as mid-century for his atheism. These are minor instances and I am quite sure they are very common throughout history.

Jews have persecuted many. The Old Testament is filled with instances of religious persecution.

Islam persecutes. I'm sure Hindus and Buddhists persecute. All religions persecute.

Atheists persecute.

Revenant said...

Jews have been doing this for thousands of years.

Judaism believes that God does, indeed, judge your sins.

Seven Machos said...

A one-time judgment. Big Deal. No liens. No prison. No fines. No eternal fire.

Where's the incentive to be good? And yet...

Revenant said...

Please educate me. I'd love an example of when and how Christians persecuted anyone. Responding with "the Crusades" will only reveal you

Atheism was illegal in Christian Europe up into the 20th century, although prosecutions for it dropped off over the past few centuries. Punishments ranged from prison, to torture, to (in extreme cases) execution. There is also the 2000 year Christian persecution of the Jews -- pogroms, repeated expulsions, periodic ethnic cleansing, etc.

You can, perhaps, excuse some of this by saying that the acts were carried out by political leaders, not religious ones. But by that logic atheists have never persecuted any religious people ever, because there ARE no atheist leaders.

But even if you excuse those acts of persecution which weren't directly ordered by the Church, you still have the troublesome fact that the Catholic Church openly promoted and endorsed the prosecution and/or execution of atheists and, periodically, Jews or Muslims. On the Protestant side you've got Martin Luther calling for the brutal suppression of Jews, going so far as to say that there would be nothing wrong with killing him.

Revenant said...

A one-time judgment. Big Deal. No liens. No prison. No fines. No eternal fire.

Actually I think there is, in theory, an eternal punishment for the truly evil and nasty.

Where's the incentive to be good?

Like most (until recently) insular and isolated communities, Judaism relied on shunning to enforce proper behavior. It doesn't take much courage to do the right thing when everyone you know is going to find out that you didn't. :)

bearbee said...

The only Leo trait Obama appears to lack is that of a bully,...

He wants us to speak Spanish. He wants mandatory public service. He wants a global tax on US taxpayers. He surrogate has said:

"He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism ... that you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed."

Right or not, he is a bully.

re: Christian persecution, the Spanish inquisition began with the persecution of Jews.

Pastafarian said...

tsfiles -- No one expects the Spanish Inquisition.

I suspect that Galileo felt a little persecuted, when he was imprisoned for defending the Copernican view of the solar system, or when he was "interrogated" til confessing. But the church did apologize -- about 5 years ago, I think. So maybe that one doesn't count.

How about all of the women that were burned as witches? Or the keeper of the Library of Alexandria -- when early Christians sacked and burned the library, destroying most of the knowledge mankind had accumulated to that point, they dragged her out and cut her apart, with oyster shells, I believe. I could go on.

Blake -- I'm sorry if I "smeared" anyone. That certainly wasn't my intention, and I'm really not sure where I did that.

It seems as though you take personal offense at my professed atheism itself: That you seem to think that this implies that I think you're "irrational" and that I'm "freeer-thinking, not bogged down with superstition, and just plain 'brighter'", simply because I've stated that I'm an atheist.

No where did I say that. It's clear that you know much more about religion than I do. And in one of my first comments on this thread, I pointed out how atheism also requires a lack of something -- faith -- which is present in most human beings; and how this lack isn't really something admirable, any more than the lack of a limb would be.

And I hate to toot my own horn, but I do think that atheism requires a certain degree of courage, to accept one's own mortality. This doesn't imply that there aren't courageous religious people out there, too, of course; I agree that people like Andrew Sullivan display courage. And I'm sure that most of the war heroes that this country has produced have been religious.

But the snivelling cowardice of Islamic terrorists, who are willing to butcher unarmed innocents in order to ensure their own immortality, is a phenomenon unique to religion. Name an atheist who has demonstrated such a repulsive degree of self-regard.

And, no, I don't think that atheism is a "religious stance", in the sense that I've taken it based on faith. The fact that I found your mocking tone to be insulting isn't an admission of faith. I just think that if I'm held to standards of conduct that prevent me from snidely mocking your beliefs in this area of discourse, then you should be held to those same standards.

And you haven't yet addressed the kernel of my argument. If someone claims that they'll be reincarnated, there must be some underlying mechanism that makes this possible, right? If so, then this mechanism is a god -- it's a supernatural thing that ensures that they'll live forever, and they believe it exists based on faith.

If not, then I really don't understand this position. They believe that they'll be reincarnated, and that this will happen...simply because it will, with no cause-and-effect string between death and rebirth. Sorry, but I still smell a diety here. Maybe it's just a limitation of my non-hippy brain.

Revenant -- yes, I too caught the misuse of the word "mole". I didn't want to point it out, since I'd made several errors of my own (confusing Buddhism and Hinduism, etc.)

bearbee said...

Name an atheist who has demonstrated such a repulsive degree of self-regard.

Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot who in pursuit of what they deemed the ideal and as such had the right to impose their will, slaughtered and/or allow to perish, millions of people

Institutional terrorists.

Revenant said...

Yeah, you kind of walked right in to that one, Pasta. :)

blake said...

Pasta--

And I hate to toot my own horn, but

...you keep doing it anyway. Heh.

I do think that atheism requires a certain degree of courage, to accept one's own mortality.

In Theravada Buddhism, existence is a trap that you suffer through lifetime after lifetime, until you attain a state of non-identity. (Oblivion--death for all intents and purposes--is a not unusual goal in Indic philosophy.)

In other words, what you call brave to accept is what they struggle to achieve over thousands of lifetimes.

It seems as though you take personal offense...

It's actually the opposite of personal to me. I'm more concerned with the institution of religion itself.

Here's what you've said: "I'm brave because I'm honest enough to accept that my existence will end."

The implication is clear that others who don't agree with that world-view are lacking in bravery or honesty. Not in every aspect, just in the one that allows you to face reality as it is.

We're getting into some very fine semantics if we start parsing out the meanings of "courage" and "honesty", but I think that delusion rules out both. That is, you can't be honest if you're delusional, and courage requires acting "right", which would also seem problematic for the delusional.

And a lot of self-titled atheists do believe exactly that--that all forms of religion and spirituality are delusional. And, in fairness, you can find that viewpoint in most religions' views of unbelievers.

simply because I've stated that I'm an atheist.

Hardly, although I think you should know what the word actually means, and how it's been co-opted.

I pointed out how atheism also requires a lack of something -- faith -- which is present in most human beings; and how this lack isn't really something admirable, any more than the lack of a limb would be.

You refer to absence of faith as a bad thing, but it comes off as "O Lord!" <--irony "Spare me from seeing reality the way it actually is."

Atheism certainly has its martyrs; Does the mere state of being an atheist count as martyrdom? Lack of faith is your cross to bear? :-)

We won't even get into the fact that religion doesn't require faith, in the sense that most self-styled atheists use the word (i.e., "belief without proof".)

This doesn't imply that there aren't courageous religious people out there, too, of course;

Courage takes many forms. You seem to be claiming a particular kind for yourself. There's nothing unique about that; most religions do that. (And I object to that when other religions do it, too.)

I just think that if I'm held to standards of conduct that prevent me from snidely mocking your beliefs in this area of discourse, then you should be held to those same standards.

Dude, your handle is "Pastafarian". The FSM is cute and funny (on an 8th grade level), but it's also blasphemous mockery for a huge number of people.

If someone claims that they'll be reincarnated, there must be some underlying mechanism that makes this possible, right?

Let's not muddle terminology. Reincarnation (say Hinuds) is a process, yes, but it's not a god, or caused by a god, any more than gravity is. It's the nature of the spiritual universe. (I'm pretty sure that's the view.)

If one agrees that the spiritual world exists, it follows that it might have its own rules, and also that proof of God might be as elusive in that universe as it is in the physical universe.

But we can make this even simpler. Let's posit that there are things called ghosts, and that ghosts, for whatever reason, like to use bodies. And when a body dies, they claim another one. Simple enough?

No reference to God, or spiritual universes, or anything else. Just a simple philosophy of how things might work. (You could mix-and-match it with various other views, which is very common in the East.)

Concepts of spirituality do not have to include God (see Buddhism) and, curiously enough, concepts of God do not have to include spirituality (early Hebrews seem to have believed death was the end; it was Zoroastrianism that brought concepts of Heaven and Hell to the Jews).

Revenant -- yes, I too caught the misuse of the word "mole".

What is up with you materialists? I asked a how much a mole of bravery weighs. If I asked how much a mole of gold weighs would you complain that a mole isn't a measurement of weight, or would you be able to say "about seven ounces"?

Geez.

Revenant said...

What is up with you materialists?

I was correcting Pasta's "how much of a mole it weighs" phrasing. And I answered your question, too, although you didn't see fit to acknowledge it.

I asked a how much a mole of bravery weighs.

The same as a mole of height, of course.

"Bravery" is itself a qualitative descriptor, like "height" or "color", which is why asking what 6 sextillion of it weighs is silly. There is no such thing as "a bravery", or "two braveries", or "three braveries". So asking how much "602 sextillion of bravery" weighs is meaningless.

Anyway, you asked where "the bravery is". The answer is that it exists as a pattern stored in his brain, just like the notion that there is a computer monitor in front of your eyes right now exists as a pattern in your brain.

blake said...

That's a nice theory, Rev.