Unwelcome to Facebook… [UPDATE: welcome back, sorry!]

UPDATE July 26th, 2pm – just got an e-mail stating I was reinstated. The only thing that seems to be missing is my “public” Kevin I. Slaughter profile, so I have to assume it was that page.

—–ORIG. POST BELOW—–

Woke up to find Facebook has killed my account… no explanation of course, just a generic “You figure out what you did wrong from this list of vague infractions.”

Find me on Twitter here, unless they decide I’m unwelcome there too. Now I have to worry about my G+ account. Do I need to act like a clean cut god-fearin’ simpleton so that my google accounts aren’t pulled out from underneath me? Fuck.

Yeah, good luck with that, me.

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What are you willing to do to live ethically?

A blurb about Peter Singer’s book “In Defense of Animals” on Amazon.com begins: “Paul McCartney once said that if slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”

I hate The Beatles, and John Lennon, and to a lesser degree Paul McCartney. This aside, my version of that quote would be “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would have a better understanding of the cruelty inherent in life, and it would be more difficult to convince people that life should be fair.”

I need to work on that… it’s not there yet.

I’ve been wanting to read Singer. I haven’t read more than some articles and seen a few videos and interviews. I feel he’s wrong, and I’m interested to read his argument… it’s just not as compelling as some of the other things I want to read, so I haven’t picked it up.

About a week ago  someone on facebook asked the question “Are circuses morally objectionable?”

I made the response (quoting another response):

“…but circuses are not known for ethical treatment of non-humans.”
I don’t think they’re particularly known for the ethical treatment of humans either. It’s one of those situations where you can get bogged down by the ethics, wrestle with the implications, maybe come to the conclusion that ultimately it’s harmful that humans reproduce at all and advocate for the extinction of life on the planet.
Or go to the circus.
Each is an appealing way to spend an evening. Only one results in seeing monkeys in funny hats.

Someone e-mailed me “You were kidding, right?”

Augh… here’s one of those things… I find it really hard not to respond to certain topics. I find it impossible in most cases to be moderate, even when I’m trying to moderate. I’m a cynic and a boor, fine, but you have the ability not to read this, and she DID contact ME.

I responded:

Had to check what you were referring to…
Circuses.

No, I really wasn’t. I was barely being flippant.
Living a fulfilling, considered, fully ethical life is probably impossible.

Sometimes you have to compromise, and compromise usually means nobody is happy with the results.
I recently read “Better Never to Have Been”… it’s an anti-natalist work that uses arguments that readers of animal rights books would be familiar with. The theory is that “it’s always a harm to bring a life into the world”.

I can’t counter his logic with logical counter-arguments. He’s a professional in the field of ethics, if all things were equal, he’s got more time to think about it. I’ve got a job and other shit.
So, let’s say logically, rationally, ethically, he’s right – just for the argument.
Should we not have children? Should all human life cease to be?

These are miserable, brain and gut wrenching things to spend any time pondering. It can lead to ponderous thoughts and disturbing consequences. The nature of evil, of rampant brutality and treachery in nature…

I read and consider, I try to be honest and a good person to those in my life that I care for, and not to be intentionally harmful to those outside that circle.

For all of this, I could look away from the road for one second… coffee could spill, an elderly woman could fall on the sidewalk and I want to see if she’s alright, and I careen into a minivan and kill a family.

If you’re in a lifeboat that will hold a maximum of 12 people, and dozens are swimming and grabbing on to the sides of the boat to save themselves, are you willing to lift up an axe and chop their hands off, so that they don’t capsize the crowded boat causing everyone to die?

If a city spends $2 million rescuing a child who has fallen down a well, would you be willing to cover the well and divert the funds to vaccinations that may save dozens or hundreds or thousands of lives?

I am serious, and wouldn’t it be nice to just go to the circus…

It ain’t poetry, and I’d edit it a number of different ways, but it says basically what I want it to say.

I’m driving to work one day last week, as I do every day, and this day I see a cat run out under the van in front of me and get mangled. I’m horrified by this and my thoughts were “I need to finish it off.” I needed to swerve the wheel of my car toward the animal that I just saw be twisted and magled by the wheels of the speeding van in front of me in hopes that I would smash its skull and kill it instantly. In the few seconds I had to bridge the gap between my current position and where the cat was still rolling from the impact, I saw its battered body twitching and bleeding profusely and a massive evisceration to the abdomen that was spilling out its entrails. I was horrified and my guts turned and I wanted to recoil and pull over but I knew that it couldn’t be saved, I couldn’t slam my breaks at that speed with all this traffic and what I needed to do was to stop it from suffering and being run over by a series of cars until it died from the repeated smashing or someone dealt a deathblow.

I couldn’t do it. I failed to do the only thing that would have helped.

I cursed cars and overpopulation and the whole goddamn world. I couldn’t have saved the life of that cat, but I didn’t do the one thing that probably should have been done to stop the suffering.

I looked in my rear view, it jerked and bled and was still dying. It disappeared under the car behind me and I sullenly, wincingly looked back at the road ahead, cursed humanity and gloomily made it through the day. I probably would have felt worse if I’d done it, even though I would have stopped the suffering of that poor animal.

When I got home and I sat down and the daily ritual of my own cat welcoming me home by standing on my lap and demanding my full attention until he’s tired of me commences like every other day. He doesn’t know about the dead relative, and if he did, would he care?

Life is just not that simple, and it certainly ain’t fair. Not eating meat or wearing a leather belt or abstaining from going to see the trained monkeys may make you feel better, but it doesn’t mean you’re not going to commit unspeakable suffering on someone or something at some point in your life. It certainly won’t stop unspeakable suffering from being committed upon you.

You’ve got to have some principals, some ethical framework, but unless they’re really fucking vague (or contradictory), you’re going to have to break a few to get through life. Tough shit. We’re poorly constructed meat-machines. What we think of as “I” is an illusion created by the brain. You lie to yourself every day, but you don’t know it.

I consider myself a skeptic, and pro-science and reason… but sometimes my gut overrides my brain. I can’t build an argument against the anti-natalist, but I disagree with him. Where I disagree with Singer, I probably can’t mount a logical counter, but I can’t forsee anyone convincing me to stop eating meat.

Am I less of a skeptic? Do I have a “faith”? Am I “anti-science”?

Be a “good person”, whatever you can figure that out to be. Be reflective and considerate, but don’t think you’re absolutely right. Reason and logic will get your far, but you’re not made for it. You’re made to run on lies and irrational impulses. You can’t get away from it. I can’t get away from it. You can only struggle and maybe at the end of the day you didn’t fuck up and hurt someone you didn’t mean to. If it’s a good day, you did something nice for someone you care about.

I don’t want cats to die.

I don’t want to be the cause of a cat dying.

I don’t want to see someone else be the cause of a cat’s death.

I don’t want to see a cat suffer a prolonged miserable and suffering death.

What’s ethical when a cat is in the road ahead of you, half dead?

Can you make the call in 3 seconds? Can you act on that?

The girl didn’t write back. I’m not holding my breath.

My very own blog…

It's me.

I’ve archived here years of myspace blogs, the last few months of facebook notes, and I’ll be adding a few things here and there – dated to the time it occurred.

I’m now porting this blog over to my personal facebook account, and it should show up on my twitter feed, though I don’t like twitter, other people I like DO, and I want them to know I’ve posted something here. I’m on freindfeed as well, but it’s all too much and since it has my twitter, facebook and blog feeds, it’s going to be very very redundant.

I’ve put everything in a category, at least one. “MySpace Archive” and “Facebook Archive” are self-explanatory.

As of this writing, I have the following categories:

Archivalist : Stuff I scan/document.

Arty : Um, art stuff. Things I or others do.

Bibliophile : I, book nerd.

Blog Notes : Just shit like this – who fucking cares.

Boorish : Me ranting, i.e. “commentary” and “sophistry”.

Crafty : Projects around the house. Sewing, sawing, silk-screening, building.

Design : Design projects for Underworld Amusements, freelance design that won’t scandalize the client, etc.

Outside My House : Vacations, events, etc.

Quote : Things other people have said, with or without commentary.

Skeptic : Things having to do with skepticism, atheism, critical thinking.

Slaughter House : When I pretend to be a professional photographer.

Two Cents : Much overlap with “Boorish”, but quieter.

Underworld Amusements : Notes on my projects that aren’t important enough to go on that site.

I suppose if I start adding things from the past, I’ll add a category called “Historical Revisionism“…

I’ve “tagged” only a few of the posts here, I suppose future postings will have them, and maybe I’ll get around to the backlog of items. I’ve always been terrible at documenting my work. I’ve had one or two websites about me, but nothing public. It’s been a tightrope walk, owing to the fact that I do freelance work and have a “straight job”.  I haven’t gone out of my way to hide my opinions, I just haven’t gone out of my way to publicize them in a public way like this. Take, for example, the description of  “Design” above… I won’t be posting all my freelance work here because some of my clients wouldn’t like it. Some of them have had no idea of my interests outside of graphic design. That’s a good thing. It may not be a secret, but most politically vocal graphic designers are on the left.

Obama X-Press - Snow Balls, Food Stamps, Newport
Obama X-Press - Snow Balls, Food Stamps, Newport

I consider myself a secular conservative… a “little ‘l’ libertarian”. I disagree with libertarians on a few points – death penalty being one of them… it’s not used enough.

Well, we’ll see what happens. This way I have control, and I can push my thoughts out from one location.

I will do my best to restrict posts to something worth sharing. You may disagree, but luckily for you it’ll be really easy to ignore it all.

This is me, some 13 years ago. I was in an industrial/performance group called URILLIAsekt, and the performance was called “Lycanthropy Ritual”. I don’t know if I’ve gotten more weird or less.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dn0be_CXIT0

This blog is found at kevinislaughter.com, but .net and .org get you there as well.

Skeptics and Gays = TOO WHITE

Rebecca Watson thinks Skeptics are too white (I unsubscribed from that podcast [Skeptics Guide to the Universe] for a second time because of stupid shit she’s said), and the Directors of the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund think Gays are too white.

Their website states:

“While many things have changed dramatically in the 40 years since Stonewall, one thing has not: the leadership of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) oganizations has remained overwhelmingly white.”

More on how they’re planning to “fix” this “problem”: http://www.haasjr.org/index.php/visitor/our_grantmaking/gays_and_lesbians/articles/21_century

Yes, they spelled organizations like that. I mean, I make typos all the time, but I don’t hand out millions of dollars to folks either.

Seems like DJ Grothe might be the real enemy in all of this. (He’s gay, a skeptic and white, just in case you didn’t catch that connection…)

The latter is the group that funded Ken Burns in a search to find non-whites who have had a profound impact on the parks system for his new documentary “National Parks”

… and no jokes about the millions of tons of waste illegals are leaving in national parks! (it’s too easy, and you can just use the following link http://www.google.com/search?q=illegals+destroying+national+parks&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a )

Anyway, read Steve Sailor’s take on Ken Burns new docu over at Taki Mag:
http://www.takimag.com/blogs/article/the_unbearable_whiteness_of_ken_burns/

I’m really fucking sick of it, and I’m ready to start using the phrase “soft genocide” to represent the lets position on whites in American society. Maybe you’ve got a better word for it.

On the use of metaphors, myths and etc. …

“A mother had, for their education and betterment, given her children Aesop’s fables to read. Very soon, however, they brought the book back to her, and the eldest, who was very knowing and precocious, said: ‘This is not a book for us! It’s much too childish and silly. We’ve got past believing that foxes, wolves and ravens can talk: we’re far too grown-up for such nonsense!’ – Who cannot see in this hopeful lad the future enlightened Rationalist?”

- Schopenhauer

Tall Poppy Syndrome

So this little narrative I thought up after reading http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tall_poppy_syndrome
So I wrote it out… sounds a little awkward when I’m reading out out loud, needs to flow a little better, I don’t normally write like this.. figured I’d pass it along nonetheless…

—–

I guess I was a bright kid growing up… you know, one they always said should be getting better grades than what the report card read.

But I’ll tell you, when I was a wee lad, about to go to school for my first day my mother said the strangest thing to me. I remember everything about those few minutes, waiting for the bus on that early morning, and I’ll never forget a single detail.

As she buttoned up the last few plastic snaps on that hand-me-down raincoat, trying to hold back her tears at the sight of her baby leaving for the first time, she looked me in the eyes and said to me, “I want you to remember, when you’re in school to do good, but don’t ever do your best.”

My mom had always encouraged me to do my best. She supported my inquisitiveness, my creativity and even a bit of my mischief, so this advice I didn’t understand.

“I want you to member that,” she said, “don’t ever show ‘em your best son, they’d just as soon cut you off at the knees than see you stand above them…”

And with that, she turned me to the open door, brushed some invisible dirt off my shoulder and said “I love you.”

A series of propositions…

Just something I’ve been considering… this is the first attempt at putting order to it, though it’s not finished or terribly orderly.

A series of propositions:

  • The best method for understanding the world is scientific method.
  • For things untestable, reasoning and logic is best.
  • Being able to win an argument or debate does not equal being correct.
  • It is possible that a stupid man has come to a correct conclusion where a brilliant man fails.
  • The mind is a product of the brain, body and environment.
  • There is no mind/body dualism, the mind is part of the body.
  • Our minds process information that we are not conscious of. It makes decisions that we are not conscious of.
  • Our minds sometimes produce mental states that confuse us, such as deja vu.
  • The feeling of certainty is independent of facts and logic. We may feel certain that we know something but don’t.
  • The scientific method cannot test every hypothesis, due to any number of reasons.
  • Even if a hypothesis is testable, an individual may be incapable of performing those tests or accessing data.
  • Even if an individual was capable of accessing all data and performing all tests to a level of certainty, there would not be enough time to do so for all aspects of his life.
  • An individual has to rely on data and/or conclusions generated by others in order to form opinions.
  • All humans are capable of error in performing tests and applying scientific methodology.
  • Some humans intentionally create false results through any number of means.
  • An individual most likely understands any number of theories incorrectly based on an combination of flawed, partial, wrong, or skewed logic and data.
  • Even if an individuals facts are complete and accurate they may come to an incorrect conclusion based on personal intellectual limitations to process all data.

I like teh podcastes…

Someone wrote to me and pointed me to a list of podcasts they listen to and asked if I knew any good ones not on the list. In my effort to do the same to you guys, I’m sharing my response to him on this topic. I don’t have time to hyperlink all this shit on top of writing it…

Out of your list, I subscribe to Skeptoid, SciAm Podcasts, Point Of Inquiry, Reasonable Doubts, LSAT Logic In Everyday Life, and the audio version of the Cato Events.

Too bad LSAT has slowed down, that’s a great short one. The Skeptoid documentary “Here Be Dragons” is good but I winced when it shows Brian Dunning hanging out by the ocean, sitting on a rock with sunglasses on. He was not cool enough to pull of wearing dark sunglasses on camera.

I was subscribed to “Intelligence Squared”, but must have forgotten to add it when I set the new computer up, so I’m glad you pointed me to the list!

I unsubscribed from “Skeptics Guide to the Universe” when that SkepChick girl got on my fuckin’ last nerve one episode. It was during the James Watson debacle and I ended ranting about it and the whole topic of race and science for about an hour and a half when I guest-hosted a podcast of Satanism Today.

I subscribe to a few design podcasts that probably aren’t of interest.

For music podcasts, “Intoxica” is great for dirty old rock n’ roll retardation, and Ian Whitcomb has a show of ragtime, tin pan alley music called, appropriately, “The Ian Whitcomb Show”.

“The Brain Science Podcast with Dr. Ginger Campbell” is excellent. She has annual “review shows” you can listen to to get an idea of what shows you might want to go back and listen to. She’s been a little slow on shows lately, but there’s PLENTY of good stuff to listen to in the archives.

“Are We Alone?” is nerdy but good dorky science talk. For a podcast run by people looking for alien life, they don’t talk about it too much. They’re super nerdy, in a corny way.

“peikoff.com Q&A on Ayn Rand” is good. Leonard Peikoff sounds exactly like Norm MacDonald, so that makes it even better. 15 minutes each episode is about perfect.

“PRI’s The World: The World in Words” is good, but still very Public Radio, even if awkwardly self-consciously.

“Shire Network News” is a conservative Jewish Anglophile podcast. Strange, but good. They do fall into the whole “calling all the people they hate anti-semites” thing a bit too much, and I could give a shit less about Israel really.

“TEDTalks” podcast is great if you skip over some of the gay performance pieces and socially uplifting talks. TED has some really jawdropping lectures, and the podcast takes 4-15 minute snippets from them. Oh, I see you’ve got TED listed in your “video archives” list…

“The Onion Radio News” is really great…

“American Conservative University Podcast” is okay, most of the episodes are interview segments from the Michael Medved show or Dennis Praeger. Once in a while you get some wacky Christian thing mixed in. I used to listen to a lot of conservative talk radio before I bought an iPod and could find more substantive stuff, but there aren’t many really good conservative podcasts that I’ve been able to find.

In fact, most of my favorite podcasts are hosted by really lefty people, but they’re solid skeptics/atheists/seculari

sts, so whattyagonnado?

I recently unsubscribed from “Pat Condell’s Godless Comedy”. His rants are great, but he could have stopped at a dozen and been fine, because they’re all just slight variation upon one or two themes.

“Philosophy: The Classics” is decent for quick overviews of major thinkers, but the Brit who hosts the show should work as a hypnotist because it’s really easy to zone out when you’re listening to him talk.

Refreshing Candor…

Someone (we’ll labell A) wrote the following review of Androphilia by Jack Malebranche on Goodreads.com:

Malebranche’s manifesto is basically to encourage your average mainstream gay to grow a pair of balls and act like a man. Instead of being called gay, Malebranche prefers the title “Androphilia.”

I read this book for two reasons: The author is a priest in the Church of Satan and he rejects mainstream gay power organizations (which I am against). As a straight male, I found Malebranche’s arguments and ideas to be good for the betterment of social relations between straight/gay men. Malebranche believes that “gay power” organizations and lobbies have given the “typical gay man” a bad name which I believe as well. Gay organizations have made gay men no longer men but like another gender. Androphilia shows how although gay organizations often declare people “close minded,” they like to fit all Gays into one very negative effeminate stereotype.

Malebranche makes no lie that his “manifesto” is more like a rant. It’s a fairly short read and worth reading for those that are really getting fed up with the mainstream manufactured “gay agenda.”

Someone else (B) wrote:

Fuck all that, I think happy flambouyant drama queen fags are funny and entertaining as hell. I’m leary of the ones trying to hide and/or repress it. They are the ones you better keep an eye , they are the ones that turn out to be pervert preachers chasing young boys or Jeffrey Dahmer or some shit.

And the reviewer (A) responds:

haha good point(s). I am a huge fan of the early John Waters films so I can agree with your sentiments.

So then I step in with:

Jack doesn’t advocate repressing your sexuality, just not putting on a big f’kn to-do over what is nothing special. More importantly to his message is that being “gay” has little to do with sexual preference. Being “gay” is a political and social lifestyle that can be adopted by anyone, regardless of sexuality, and therefore is independent of it.

Your objection Cwn_annwn reads like the following: “I find the monkeys in hats pretending to play instruments entertaining, so don’t do anything to suggest they are anything but clowns for my amusement.”

And out of Candorville, the first commentator (B) says:

Well if your saying what I think your saying about monkeys in hats then yeah I suppose you are right. I mean are there really people out there that are into Liberace for his music? I find his whole persona funny and entertaining, but I just can’t groove on his music. If I had ever sat down and talked to Liberace would I have ever been able to take him serious as a person instead of as a nutty entertaining fruit? Probably not. If that makes me a homophobe then so be it.

WHA!? Wow… huh… okay. Guess I don’t have any follow up to that.

KIS

Objectivist on homosexuality…

Objectivist Damian Moskovitz:

While many conservatives believe that homosexuality should be outlawed and many liberals believe that homosexuals should be given special rights, Objectivism holds that as long as no force is involved, people have the right to do as they please in sexual matters, whether or not their behavior is considered by others to be or is in fact moral. And since individual rights are grounded in the nature of human beings as human beings, homosexuals do not deserve any more or less rights than heterosexuals.